Not so fast

Lady Dragons stage big rally in third set to sweep Meadville

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Warren’s Alexis Nyquist and Jordan Sitler leap to block an attack from Meadville’s Emma Ford during their match at the Warren Area Elementary Center, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. The Dragons swept the Bulldogs 3-0.

The girls volleyball match between Warren and Meadville at the Warren Area Elementary Center Tuesday seemed destined for a fourth set.

The Bulldogs came out strong in the third, grabbing an early 12-4 advantage. They were able to stretch the lead to 19-9, one not even Warren coach Mike Dolan thought his team could overcome.

“I was already thinking about what my lineup would be for game four,” Dolan laughed.

His Dragons put any thoughts of a fourth set to rest though, as they went on a 15-5 run to tie the set at 24-24 before eventually putting Meadville away 29-27 to complete the 3-0 sweep.

“We kind of started doing to them what they had been doing to us,” Dolan said.

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Lydia Latimer fires a kill past a pair of Meadville defenders during a girls volleyball match at the Warren Area Elementary Center, Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017. Latimer finished with 10 kills on the night as the Dragons swept the Bulldogs 3-0.

The match began almost as evenly as it could as the teams battled to a 9-9 tie to open play. The Dragons took control at that point, building an 18-10 advantage. Meadville tried to rally back, but Warren was able to hold on for a 25-19 win.

“We were playing really good defense,” Dolan said. “We were putting the ball to the setter and attacking that game.”

Dolan said Warren had 35 attacks in the first set.

The Bulldogs looked for most of the second set as though they would be the ones holding on. They consistently went up by two or three points, forcing the Dragons to rally just to tie, only to see the Bulldogs pull ahead again. Warren took the lead for the first time in the set at 18-17, then was the first to get to set point at 24-23. Following a Meadville timeout, the Bulldogs looked as though they might force extra points, but Emma Ford pushed her attack left and out of bounds. Meadville coach Tim Schleicher tried to argue for a touch by Warren’s blockers, but the point was upheld and the Dragons took the second set 25-23.

“We knew they were going to try to pound us on the outside,” Dolan said. “We had to turn those around and we were fortunate at the end that she pushed it.”

Times Observer photo by Brian Hagberg Ellie Lobdell

Meadville seemed poised to start the third set, putting Warren on its heels by racing out to a quick 8-4 lead and forcing Dolan to call timeout. The pause didn’t halt the momentum as the Bulldogs built leads of 12-4 and 19-9. The Dragons earned a side out four times in that stretch only to give serve right back to Meadville with service errors.

“Serving is just a matter of focus,” Dolan said. “We have good servers. If we can execute, we can hang with teams.”

Suddenly, Warren started executing and pulled to within six at 22-16. Schleicher called a timeout to regroup, and got to set point at 24-18. The Dragons then went on a 6-0 run to tie the set at 24-24, and got their first lead at 25-24. Meadville got its second set point at 26-25. Warren earned its second match point at 27-26, Meadville tied and Warren went up 28-27. The Bulldogs again set up Ford on the left side for a set-tying kill, but Ellie Lobdell was there for a block. The ball hit Lobdell’s hand, sailed past Ford and hit the court just inside the stripe.

The crowd erupted as the Dragons earned a 29-27 set win and 3-0 sweep.

“Ellie did a really nice job,” Dolan said. “She was controlling passes and the defense was picking up the balls and turning them around.”

Lobdell finished with 10 digs, eight kills and two blocks. Lydia Latimer added 10 kills, seven digs and a block, while Celia Chase had seven kills, five digs and a block. Alexis Nyquist had five digs to go along with her 32 assists.

“Alexis is doing a great job setting,” Dolan said. “And Lydia kept them on their heels with the tip-ins.”

The Dragons face a tough early season challenge Monday as they travel to Corry to take on the defending PIAA 2A state champions.

JV MEADVILLE 2, WARREN 0

Meadville won the junior varsity contest 25-13 and 25-8. Hannah Shattuck had four kills and Jackie Peterson added eight assists in the loss.

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