St. Paul’s volleyball team has reached the Division IV state final for the second straight year.
The Lady Flyers, 26-2, topped Jackson Center 25-19, 28-26, 25-22 in Friday’s state semifinal match at Wright State’s Nutter Center.
St. Paul is scheduled to play this evening against Marion Local (27-1), which defeated Newark Catholic in three games Friday night..
The Lady Flyers, who won state crowns in both 2002 and 2006, were one point away from being tied at one game apiece, down a 24-16 in the second.
But Hannah Livengood served nine straight points, despite two Jackson Center timeouts, to knot the game at 25-25.
The Lady Flyers scored three of the next four points for the win, an attack error giving the Lady Flyers a 2-0 lead.
“With Hannah serving, I was confident nine points down,’’ senior Christine Dow said.
Livengood added, “I was under pressure, but every shot came off my hand well.”
St. Paul coach Nancy Miller had confidence in her team.
“We were not going to be denied,’’ she said. “I saw big hearts on the floor.”
In the opening game, St. Paul broke a 17-17 tie on a service ace. They went on to an 8-2 run with Kaylee Bundschuh and Livengood serving.
Emma Badovick sealed the deal with a kill off an assist from Andrea Fritz for the game winner.
The third game was also close. St. Paul had a 12-9 lead at one point, but game was tied at 14-14, 15-15, 16-16, 18-18 and for the final time 20-20.
A Fritz kill gave the Lady Flyers a 21-20 advantage. They went on a 4-2 advantage, ending when a service error sent St. Paul to the finals and Jackson Center home.
“We were very relaxed in the beginning and confident during warm-up,’’ Miller said. “Defense is our biggest plus. Offensively we know we can make them defend pin to pin.’’
Dow led St. Paul with 18 kills, Badovick added eight and Amber Welfle chipped in with six.
Setter Andrea Fritz had 37 assists.
The Lady Flyer senior group of Fritz, Dow, Victoria Spaar, Badovick, Danielle Leto and Katie Duffey were making their fourth straight state appearance.
“The floor is not as big,’’ Fritz said. “Confidence is huge in this sport.’’
Spaar said having experience was a big factor.
“It helps being here before,’’ she said. “I always have help behind me.’’
Livengood paced the way defensively with 23 digs, Kaylee Bundschuh contributed 14 and Fritz gained nine.
Jackson Center, which ended the season 25-4, was making its first state appearance.
“St. Paul gained momentum,’’ Jackson Center coach Kim Metz said. “Tradition speaks volumes. We were too readable in our offense and we got left outside. We tried to re-establish grass roots in the third game. We got the ball more to Gates. She attacked for us, but could not get the ball to her.’’
Allisa Ware posted 16 kills and Gates checked in with 11 kills for Jackson Center. Cortnee Sosby had 20 assists, while Bethany Hoehne pitched in with 17. Tara Spicer and Gates both registered 13 digs.