Lakeview, Hubbard have seasons end
JEFFERSON — Lakeview volleyball coach Heather Guthrie knew exactly what it was going to take for the Bulldogs to advance past Jefferson in the Division II district tournament. The Bulldogs did what they needed to knock the Falcons on their heels, but couldn’t hold on to that momentum in falling, 16-25, 28-26, 25-18, 25-21, in a Division II district semifinal at Falcon Gymnasium on Tuesday night.
“We knew we had to come out ready to go tonight,” Guthrie said. “We knew we were in for a battle tonight. There’s a long history here with Jefferson. The girls know that’s a good team. We knew we had to come out strong with a lot of intensity to get the momentum.
“We did that in the first game, but we slacked off in the second, third and fourth games.”
In the first semifinal, Mentor Lake Catholic dropped Hubbard, 25-14, 25-15, 25-10.
“They were 23-0 (entering the match) for a reason,” Hubbard coach Jeremy Porter said. “They play in a tough league. That group has been playing together for the last couple of years. They’ve had some tough losses to Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin. If they win those district games, they’re probably the state champs the last couple of years. They have some great players.”
The second-seeded Falcons (20-4) and top-seeded Cougars (24-0) will battle for the district championship at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
“I’d like for all of girls to grow four or five inches so we can match up on the front line,” Jefferson coach Don Palm said. “I’m not sure that’s possible. Look, we have nothing to lose. Lake Catholic is the No.-1 team in the whole state of Ohio. They’re undefeated.
“We have a great opportunity. We haven’t been in a district final in 10 years. I’m so proud of the girls. I’m excited for them. They’ll go out and give all they’ve got to give.”
Lakeview (21-3) used outside hitters Hayley Lytle, Alex Romano and Leah Carlson to establish an offense and alleviate the blocks thrown at middle hitters Jensen Silbaugh and Annie Pavlansky to take the first game.
“The girls know we have to establish the middles first,” Guthrie said. “Then the outside hitters know it’s their job to put the ball down that way we can run an offense using all three hitters.”
The Falcons took momentum from the Bulldogs at some point in the second game and never gave it back.
“It is frustrating,” Guthrie said. “But they have a great player. (Emily DeGeorge) plays all the way around.
“She makes great plays ta the right time. Again, their defense was great. They were digging some of our hardest hits. We were swinging great and hitting the ball, (Jefferson) just has a great defense.”
The key for Jefferson was seizing that momentum in the second game.
“After the first set, I thought we didn’t come out with a sense of urgency, a focus,” Palm said. “I tried to warn the girls. This was a different Lakeview team than the one we saw at the beginning of the year. They know how to get points. They know how to manufacture points. They’re always good at serving. They’re always good passers. They play great defense. We weren’t helping ourselves and they weren’t giving us any easy points.”
Despite playing against the top-ranked team in the state, the Eagles (16-8) were unafraid of the Cougars and it showed as they trailed by just two, 15-13, in the first two games before Lake Catholic was able to pull away both times.
“I think we just played really hard,” Porter said. “That was some of the best volleyball we played all year. I’m real proud of the kids. We played great defense. We put the ball down. (Lake Catholic) has some big blockers and we put the ball consistently. It was a great effort from the kids. They just never quit tonight.”
As happy as Porter was with the way Hubbard played early, Lake Catholic coach Rich Severino was disappointed.
“We’ve been doing that all year,” Severino said. “I don’t know why. I don’t like that we do it. We’re good at finishing. We’re not very good at starting matches. We’ve got to change that. I’d like for us to be stepping on the pedal from the first serve to last serve.”