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LaBrae puts up a fight

Crestview wins 25-7, 25-12, 25-23 to stay undefeated

LaBrae’s Rylee McDonough hits the ball during their match against Crestview, Tuesday night at Crestview High School. (David Dermer/Warren Tribune Chronicle)

NEW WATERFORD – The LaBrae Vikings are no strangers to playing five game sets.

They started off the year against Garfield and Newton Falls and split those matchups.

On Tuesday, they ran into a buzz saw in the first two sets that they tried to recover from. But, the Crestview Rebels were able to refocus and finish off the Vikings in a Mahoning Valley Athletic Conference, Gray Tier matchup.

When all was said and done, the Vikings fell in three sets, 25-7, 25-12, and 25-23.

LaBrae was paced by Ashley Monroe, Briley Daniels, and Summer Pumphrey with three kills each.

Mykaila Bryant and Rylee McDonough each had seven digs as the LaBrae defense tightened up in the final set.

“That’s one good thing about my team, I feel like they do have the fight and the will to want to win,” LaBrae coach Courtney Kish said. “There have been plenty of times this year where we’ve been down and were able to come back and take it to five.

“We’ve played a lot of volleyball being only halfway through the year. I thought by set three, we were playing a cleaner game overall. I think that’s what really impacted and helped us in that third set. We were starting to get into our rhythm.”

Unfortunately for LaBrae (6-3, 4-2), the first couple of sets were rough as they fell behind 5-0 and 11-2 before calling timeouts to readjust, but they struggled to find the answers as they dropped the opening set, 25-7.

“We had a lot of battles with ourselves that we need to clean up,” Kish added. “I thought that as we got into set three that we looked more like our team. We know Crestview has always been very competitive in volleyball. Competing is the biggest thing you want to do.”

Lucy Montgomery and Grace Auer were lethal at the front line with 10 kills each for the Rebels.

“This is my 17th year here and this is the strongest hitting team I’ve had and I’ve had some good strong teams,” Crestview coach Alisha Auer said. “I just have so many offensive weapons. It’s hard to defend against them.”

That was evident in the second set as well as the Rebels (9-0, 5-0) again jumped out to another big lead at 7-1 which forced another LaBrae timeout.

“Early on, their serve and our serve receiver struggled, along with finding the court on the other side,” Kish said. “We knew they were a good team, but the biggest thing is to play our game the best we can and know that they’re going to have some big hitters, and get past that. I think that overall, I was pleased with the third set. I think that if we could have gotten that started a little bit earlier that would have benefited us.”

Down 2-0, after 25-12 in the second set, the Vikings started to find some success against the Rebels building out a 5-1 advantage and playing Crestview even throughout the third set until Shelby Rambo served four straight points to give the Rebels some breathing room.

Crestview extended their lead out to 21-15 and survived the late heroics from the Vikings as they inched it back to 24-23.

“Our ball control started to waver there,” Aeur said. “They started to play really good defense. I thought they dug out a lot of nice balls tonight. Their defense was very scrappy. Our ball control started to fade. We were able to refocus to finish it off just to get to 25.”

sports@tribtoday.com

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