Lordstown gets by Mathews in 5

Special to Tribune Chronicle / Dianna Oatridge Mathews' Megan Haynie, left, looks on as Lordstown's Alexis Weekley goes for a spike Tuesday in Cortland. Lordstown won, 3-2.

CORTLAND — Any fan of sports, young and old alike, could feel the excitement of the semifinal volleyball matchup between Lordstown and Mathews Tuesday night.

The fans were on their feet almost the entire final set as Lordstown escaped as the winner in an epic contest, 22-25, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23, 16-14, in a Division IV Lakeview District semifinal.

Lordstown (19-5) moves on to the district final Thursday at 5:30 p.m., against Ashtabula St. John.

“It was just a battle,” Mathews coach Carole O’Dell said. “My girls went all out. We knew this was a tough team. We played them earlier in the season. Kellee Applegate is a phenomenal, phenomenal player.”

Applegate’s incredible 30-for-30 performance led the way for the Red Devils. Applegate had 30 digs and 30 kills to go along with five aces.

“We worked well as a team together,” Applegate said. “All of us played on the court. It wasn’t just some over here and some over there. Everybody played together.”

Alivia Oulton’s serving got Mathews out to the early advantage. She finished with 16 kills and 22 digs. Addy Jarvis had 29 kills and 18 digs. Sadie Bertok had 21 digs. Ally Richards finished with an amazing 31 digs for the Mustangs (20-4).

After finishing set two emphatically with a leaping spike from Applegate, Lordstown found themselves down 16-4 in set three. Oulton got it started with eight straight service points. In a set that featured too many long volleys to count, the Red Devils nearly pulled off the comeback falling short 25-21. The Red Devils took set four to bring a deciding fifth set into play.

Mathews took the lead early 7-2. Lordstown coach Jeanann Applegate called timeout. The Red Devils came storming back to take a 12-10 lead. It was then 12-12, then 14-14. It’s the first to 15 in the final set but you must win by two points. Lordstown won the final two points and the match on two points that seemed to take an eternity to unfold as each player got a hand in on the action.

“Mathews is a tough team,” Applegate said. “Everybody knows there a tough team. They’re very well coached. When we played earlier in the year we lost in four sets. My girls gave it all they had tonight.”

When Applegate wasn’t making dents in the floor smashing the ball, her teammates contributed to the victory. Senior Jordan Beach had 24 digs and a spectacular 38 assists. Freshman Ava Spano chipped in 23 digs. Junior Alexis Weekley had 16 kills and 22 digs for Lordstown.

“We came in knowing it was going to be a really tough game,” Weekley said. “We knew what we had to do and we just gave it 100 percent.”