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AHS volleyball downed by tough Mustangs

By Cort Reynolds

The host Ada volleyball team played a good first set but eventually got swept by backyard rival juggernaut Allen East in Northwest Conference action Thursday night, September 22.

The 25-23, 25-12, 25-6 defeat dropped the Lady Bulldog season record to 9-7 overall and 1-4 in NWC play. AE improved to 10-1 and 3-0 in the NWC with the impressive win.

"Allen East is definitely a good team," said Ada head coach Kyleigh Woodruff. "They run a very fast offense and have a lot of hitting options.

"We just couldn't side out," she continued. "They didn't make hitting errors and kept the ball in play."

AE head coach Laura Basham has a team very capable of contending for the league title in her seventh year at the helm.

"We played up to our level the last two sets," she said. AE was 19-5 last season, but she feels this is the best team she has coached.

Set one was a back and forth affair. The game was tied at four, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The Bulldogs led 9-6 but AE rallied to lead 10-9. Emilee Hufer knotted it for Ada with a hit to the open corner.

A southpaw tip by Autumn Andreasen tied it 11-all. She then served an ace moments later to make it 12-12. Mustang Hannah Williams served an ace but Lily Baumgartner's kill made it 13-13.

Ada inched ahead 14-13 on a short hit to an opening by Daicy Robinson. Mustang Bethany Smith tied it on a clean kill, and junior teammate Soraya Jackson then served five points in a row to seize control. 

A block kill by AE senior Elle Richardson and two service winners by Jackson highlighted the flurry.

Ada sophomore Lily Baumgartner ended the 6-0 run with a kill, and Courtney Sumner served an ace. Jackson smashed a winner to restore the lead to 23-18.

A tip block by Kenzie Koontz advanced AE to set point at 24-20. Yet Ada stayed alive with three consecutive points. But a huge Jackson smash just inside the back line stopped the Ada rally and clinched the set, 25-23.

"We played well the first set," said Woodruff. "But we fell apart the last two sets."

The teams battled to a 5-5 start in set two. A great dig by Josie Phillips helped Ada win a rally as they took a 6-5 lead. Yet Savana Brooks hammered a kill to end a rally and tie it up. 

A Brooks serve hit the top of the net and dropped in for an ace at 9-6. A desperation save by Ada Anna Conley turned into a winner off the next Brooks line-drive serve.

A huge clean kill by Koontz made it 11-7 Mustangs. AE continued its run with Smith serving to 16-7. Smith capped her own run with a clean kill from the back row.

A block kill from Richardson and Williams made it 17-8, followed by a Soraya slam. Jackson ended a long rally with a winning tip at 19-10.

A left-handed sideline tip by Brooks made it 21-11. Williams fired an ace, and Ada won a long rally for 23-12. A Jackson smash advanced AE to set point. 

A Bulldog hitting error closed the set, 25-12. 

In game three, the Mustangs led 3-0 after a Koontz slam was barely tipped out. A clean slam by Koontz found the open middle as Richardson served the first six points.

A Baumgartner kill got Ada within 6-2 before a Jackson smash. A Williams two-handed push found the open middle, followed by a hit error. Another Williams ace and a Bulldog hit just wide made it 11-3.

Conley hit the sideline on a tip to end the AE run, but Ada served long. Smith drilled a clean cross-court kill. A Richardson kill hit the sideline. Jackson served long to make it 15-5.

Emilee Huffer put down a two-handed tip for Ada. Richardson found an opening in the back row, and a good Brooks serve made it 18-6. A Williams tip hit the sideline, and Koontz's attack was blocked but fell to the Ada side.

A block kill and another Koontz kill made it 22-6. Brooks fired an ace on the back line for her sixth straight point. Richardson hammered a clean kill to reach match point. Another service winner by Brooks ended the match on a 10-0 run at 25-6.

Ada senior libero Courtney Sumner came up with 18 digs to increase her program career record total to 825. She also served three aces.  

Freshman Conley led Ada with five kills, and she added four digs. Sophomore Lily Baumgartner contributed four kills and four digs. 

Junior setter Andreasen passed out 12 assists, made 14 digs and served one ace. 

Senior Huffer and junior Daicy Robinson each knocked down a pair of kills. Sophomore Tessa Griffith hit two kills and served an ace. 

Hard-hitting senior Koontz hammered a match-high 15 kills, spiking the ball almost straight down most of the night with her power leaping and hitting skills.

"She has really developed in the last two years," Basham noted.

Jackson completed their lethal AE one-two hitting punch with 11 kills and nine digs. Richardson contributed six kills, while the versatile junior Brooks compiled five kills and four aces.

Williams doled out 37 assists. Smith added four kills and eight digs.

The Bulldog junior varsity lost in three sets to drop their record to 11-4.  

Ada plays at league foe Delphos Jefferson (3-10, 1-2 NWC) Tuesday, September 27. The Bulldogs then visit non-league foe Vanlue (5-7) Thursday, Sept. 29.

AE faces a gauntlet week ahead with three matches in as many days. The Mustangs host Elmwood in a non-league bout Monday, then entertain Crestview (7-5, 4-0 NWC) in a battle between the only two remaining league unbeatens Tuesday.

AE then visits 11th-ranked Leipsic (11-3, 3-1 NWC) on Wednesday.

Basham noted her team will know a lot more about their league title chances after next week.