PV tops Lordstown in 4 sets

LORDSTOWN — After three close, down-to-the-wire sets, Pymatuning Valley put together a decisive 25-13 fourth set victory to nail down a Northeastern Athletic Conference win Thursday night at Lordstown.

The Lakers were led by some timely kills by senior Larissa Kidd. Kidd’s relentless effort and big swing helped close out the Devils.

“It didn’t really go as planned,” Kidd said. “We planned on coming right out of the blocks. We let them come ahead. We just had to fight every game. After that, we just kind of shut them down in the fourth set.”

PV got out to a 10-4 lead in the first set before Lordstown came back and tied the score. The Devils then took leads of 16-14 and 21-19 before Lakers senior Allison Graves recorded the final six straight service points to close out set one.

“I honestly wasn’t really expecting to serve like that,” Graves said. “I’ve kind of been struggling with my serving recently. I felt like I fought back. We were able to do good once we got on a roll. We went into little slumps. We work well when we’re all working together.”

After the Lakers controlled most of set two, Lordstown once again came back and tied the score at 19-19. A big spike from Lordstown junior Ava Spano (nine kills) wasn’t enough as PV’s Angolia Wiser helped serve the Lakers to a 25-21 second set victory.

A tight third set had Lordstown on top 22-19. However, the Lakers had a comeback of their own up their sleeves. After some intense volleys, the Lakers took the lead, 23-22, and new Lordstown coach Gerald Booze called a timeout. The Devils regrouped and Julia Durig had three clutch serves in a row for a 25-23 third set win.

Lexi Drewek led the Devils with 15 kills and 26 digs. Emily Johnson had eight assists. Lordstown is rebuilding after losing a core group of seniors to graduation.

“We’re rebuilding in a sense that we only have three seniors this year,” Booze said. “We’re kind of finding the pieces to put together. We have a lot of new girls that haven’t played at this level yet.

“I honestly think we beat ourselves more than anything. Balls were falling that shouldn’t have. We weren’t talking. It was rough tonight.”

The Lakers were determined in set four. The all-out hustle and perfect assists by senior Ellie Stroke and dominating kills by Emily Millard helped seal the deal for the Lakers. Crucial digs from Victoria Day and Cortney Shinault also contributed. Lily Pittman came off the bench to get the final service point.

“We played overall pretty well,” Lakers coach Justin Smith said. “We covered the back row. Lexi Drewek has a great swing for Lordstown. She really hurt us early on. She was going hard cross. We were able to adjust and get outside.

“We served the ball really well. Our passing was better. We’re looking to compete for the conference title. When we execute, and make the other team make plays, we’re very good.”