Warren set to battle Villa in D-10 volleyball semis

Celia Chase and the Dragons battle Villa today in the D-10 semifinals.

After easily dispatching a well-known opponent in the District 10 quarterfinals Saturday, the Warren volleyball now faces the unknown in the semifinals tonight.

Warren had already met Oil City twice during the regular season before squaring off in the quarterfinals. The Dragons swept the Oilers in all three meetings. Still, the heavily favored Dragons knew they couldn’t take the Oilers likely.

“Even though we were favored in the game, you still have to come out and do it,” Warren coach Mike Dolan said after the win. “The fans are into it, everybody’s into it. It’s intense and you have to be ready for it. I think last year helped prepare us.”

Now, the Dragons travel to McDowell High School to take on Villa Maria at 6 p.m. The Dragons and Victors did not face each other in the regular season, and haven’t squared off since Warren swept Villa out of the District 10 playoffs in 2015.

“I saw Villa over the summer and they’re good,” Dolan said.

Warren relied on some familiar faces to dispose of the Oilers. Lydia Latimer (16 kills, 13 digs, 1 block), Ellie Lobdell (9 kills, 5 digs, 4 aces), Celia Chase (9 digs, 6 kills, 4 aces), Grace Wortman (4 kills, 3 digs) and Jordan Sitler (2 kills, 1 dig) were strong at the net for the Dragons, while Julia Lobdell (6 digs, 3 aces) and Lex Nyquist (35 assists, 6 digs) played solid defense and set the offense.

“It started with our defense and Lex (Nyquist) knows what to do with it and the hitters did their job,” Dolan said.

The net presence will be a big key against the Victors.

Villa enters the match with a 13-4 overall record and coming off a hard-fought, five-set victory over Meadville in the quarterfinals.

The Victors are led up front by Kristin Reiland.

The 5-foot-11 senior outside/middle hitter is the primary attacker and had 172 kills through 31 sets this year. Reiland is saving some of her best performances for last. During Villa’s win over Meadville she had 37 kills and 21 digs.

Reiland is set primarily by Kaitlyn Lipps. The 6-foot sophomore had 46 assists and 15 digs in the quarterfinal victory.

The winnner will face either General McLane or Conneaut (McDowell 7:30 p.m.) for the District 10 title. The Dragons did not face General McLane during the regular season, and split the two contests against Conneaut. Warren earned a home sweep in September, while Conneaut won in five at home in October.

The date, time and location for the championship game have not been announced.