LIZ WILSON of Edgewood tips the ball over Emily Malmisur of Lakeview during a Division II sectional championship match on Thursday night in Falcon Gym.

The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

JEFFERSON — The Lakeview volleyball team has been behind all season. That didn’t stop the Bulldogs from winning 20 matches. The story was no different for the Bulldogs in a Division II sectional championship match against Edgewood on Thursday at Falcon Gymnasium.

Lakeview trailed early in the first two games but rebounded to win both and in turn, the match, 25-23, 25-21, 22-25, 25-14.

“We were behind a lot this year,” Lakeview coach Scott Taylor said. “With our record coming in, it wouldn’t seem like we were behind a lot. We’ve made some nice comebacks. We’re not unaccustomed to playing from behind.”

With the win, the second-seeded Bulldogs (21-2) will play the No. 3 seed Hubbard on Tuesday in the second Division II district semifinal at Jefferson.

Lakeview was at its best when setter Haley Bates was spreading the ball to every player in the Bulldogs’ attack.

“Their setter is good at moving the ball around,” Edgewood coach Dave Jones said. “They’re tall and they hit the ball well. (Malmisur) moves the ball around to everyone. Their setter is the key. They had a lot of big hits on the ball.”

Bates had nine ace spikes and 38 ace sets for the Bulldogs.

In the first game, the Warriors (13-10) led, 8-5, but two Edgewood hitting errors and an ace serve from Alexis Sidley knotted the score, 8-8. An ace block and an ace spike from Joanna Novotny gave the Bulldogs control.

Lakeview built to a lead of 16-12, but an ace spike from Katie Moga, an ace block from Liz Wilson and a Lakeview passing error tied the score at 19-19. An ace tip by Abbey Bensing and a spike from Emily Malmisur out of a Lakeview timeout gave the Bulldogs a 21-19 advantage. A hitting error from Lakeview and an ace spike from Wilson tied the score, 21-21.

Malmisur had 15 ace spikes and Novotny had 11 to lead the Bulldogs. Wilson was 34-of-40 spiking with 10 aces to lead the Warriors.

“We were just a step behind a good team tonight,” Jones said. “They were on and we were a step behind.”

An Edgewood hitting error and a Malmisur ace spike gave the Bulldogs the 23-21 lead, but Sam Kalil and Kelsey Johnson delivered consecutive ace spikes to tie the game once more, 23-23. A hitting error by the Warriors and an ace tip from Bates ended the game.

Johnson was 33-of-36 spiking with eight aces and Kalil was 24-of-29 spiking with six aces.

Several Lakeview hitting errors gave the Warriors a 5-2 advantage in the second game and then the Warriors made some hitting errors led the score was tied at 9-9. An ace spike from Bensing put Lakeview on top, 10-9. Wilson put the Warriors up 14-11 with an ace spike followed by an ace block. Kalil followed with an ace serve.

The Bulldogs, however, stormed back after a passing error by the Warriors. An ace serve from Bates, and ace spikes from Novotny and Malmisur tied the game at 15-15.

“We have people looking for holes (in the defense),” Taylor said. “That’s all they do. We had good communication between the back row and the front row. The back row listened to the front row and put the ball where it needed to be. That helps a lot.”

After trading several points, the Bulldogs pulled out to a 21-17 advantage because the Warriors couldn’t find a way to get the ball back over the net. The teams traded points the rest of the way.

The Warriors overcame a 14-10 deficit in the third game and tied the score at 21-21 following an ace spike from Kalil and an ace block from Wilson. Johnson gave the Warriors the lead with an ace spike.

“(Edgewood) served tough,” Taylor said. “They started to block us. We became too predictable in our offense. When we decide to spread it around, we’re hard to defend. When we’re too vanilla, we can get blocked.”

Consecutive ace blocks from substitute Laura Coxe and Katie McMellen gave Edgewood the victory.

The Bulldogs jumped to an 8-3 lead on Edgewood hitting errors in the fourth game and coasted the rest of the way to clinch the match.

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