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Norwalk returns to district title match to face Lexington — again

By JOSH MORGRET • Updated Oct 25, 2017 at 2:22 AM

ATTICA — Bellevue had all the momentum when it took to battle with Norwalk on Tuesday.

But, it was the Ladies in Blue that showed the experience needed in a Division II district semifinal at Seneca East High School.

Norwalk fought through adversity to take a 25-23, 19-25, 25-18, 25-18 win over the Lady Red.

With the win, No. 2 seed Norwalk improved to 17-8 overall and will face top seed Lexington (22-3) on Thursday for the district championship for a fourth straight year at 7 p.m. back at Seneca East. 

"I am so proud of my kids. They worked from point one to the very end," Norwalk coach Angie Kalizewski said. "They worked hard and we have been struggling with injuries, so it is nice to get back to being pretty healthy. It is nice to see us playing well."

With the match tied at 1-1, Norwalk started to show the experience of playing in their 11th straight district semifinal against Bellevue (12-13), which was playing in its first district semifinal since 2006. Norwalk used points in bunches to take the edge in Game 3. A kill by the Truckers out of a Bellevue timeout opened an 11-5 lead.

The Lady Red had continuous trouble against the Norwalk attack. A kill by Aimee Smith gave Norwalk a 17-11 lead. Later, a kill blasted by Olivia Ward increased the lead to 24-15, and an error by the Lady Red gave Norwalk a 2-1 lead.

Norwalk never trailed in Game 4. The lead ballooned to 10-5 when Ward served up an ace and increased to 14-7 after an error by the Lady Red. Irons called timeout, but never could seem to find the right formula against Norwalk.

The Lady Red drew back to as close as 19-18 after a Norwalk net violation and kill by Morgan Hicks. However, the Truckers ran off the last six points — capped on a kill by Mya Neuberger (six kills) to win the match.

"The confidence was good, but that is the thing about volleyball," Bellevue coach Karen Irons said. "The ball bounced a different way tonight. All credit to Norwalk though. Their defense was outstanding tonight."

The opening game was a very tight way to begin the match. There was seven ties and 10 lead changes in the game before Norwalk opened a 23-20 lead on a block by Carly Bilton. Bellevue won three of the next four points, but Bilton connected on one of her seven kills to give Norwalk the opening game.

The Lady Red reeled off 12 of the first 14 points, and took a 15-4 lead in Game 2. Norwalk got within three points, but no closer.

In the regular season, Norwalk defeated Bellevue on the road in three games in September, while Bellevue picked up a win in four games on Oct.12 in Norwalk. Smith did not play in the second match.

Smith led Norwalk with 13 kills and 15 digs while Ward registered 12 kills, 14 digs, and four aces. Alaina Kelley had 40 assists and Anne Davidson tallied 29 digs.

"We have done this before a million times," Kalizewski said. "To the girls, it is just another day. We know we are going to do it. It is what it is. We are just going to keep fighting. When you have our height, it is going to be a battle no matter what."

For Bellevue, Payton Vogel had a big night with 13 kills, 13 digs, and nine blocks. Hicks backed her with 13 kills and 21 digs while Baxter registered 11 kills. Molly Bouillon had 34 assists and 21 digs.

Norwalk will get just one day of preparation for Lexington, which they beat in last year’s title match in five games, 19-25, 27-25, 24-26, 25-19, 16-14. The two teams also met at the Norwalk Invitational on Sept. 2, with Norwalk winning in three games.

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