OTTOVILLE — No one was hiding it following the Division IV volleyball sectional semifinal match at Ottoville High School: Early deficits buried Delphos Jefferson.
Crestview rode early leads of 14-3 and 7-0 in sets one and two to defeat the Wildcats in three sets 25-18, 25-15, 25-14. Crestview (16-7) will play top-seeded Kalida at 6 p.m. Saturday at Ottoville for the sectional title.
“You can’t keep digging yourselves holes like that,” Delphos Jefferson head coach Joy Early said. “The momentum is wavering, confidence is down, you’re struggling to communicate. The little things like that just snowballed.”
Crestview made a statement early by jumping to a 14-3 lead in the first set. However, Delphos Jefferson quickly began to storm back, bringing the game to 14-10. The score later became as close as 19-17 before the Knights ran away with the set. The Wildcats also erased a 7-0 deficit in the second set.
“It’s something we’ve battled with all year,” Crestview head coach Tammy Gregory said. “I think after all the times we’ve been through this this season that the girls just knew that we’re going to get there, and we’re going to come away with a win. We really had to get back to basics, and take care of the little things.”
“Give our girls credit,” Early said. “they battled back and made that first set a game. Obviously, it would have been nice to pull that one out and be able to feel a little differently going into the set.”
Kirstin Hicks led the Knights with four aces and eight kills. Tianna Rager added 21 digs, while Mackenzie Riggenbach contributed 17 assists.
“Getting ahead early was the biggest thing for us,” Gregory said. “With this team, I wanted us to really get into the flow of things. We had to make a lot of smart plays tonight. This is a whole new season.”
The third set was in many ways the opposite of the first two. After both sides played strong at the beginning, Crestview’s lead stood at just 10-7. After that, the Knights ran away with the rest of the match.
Fallon VanDyke, one of two seniors who would play their final game for Delphos Jefferson on Tuesday, had three kills and seven kills. Katelyn Goergens and Rileigh Stockwell got four kills each, while Kamie Pulford came up with 11 digs. Brooke Culp contributed nine assists.
Delphos Jefferson finishes the season with a record of 7-16.