LONDONDERRY, Ohio — The worst part of the dream is when you have to wake up.
The top-seeded and previously undefeated Gallia Academy volleyball team had its dream season come to an end on Saturday inside Southeastern High School’s Larry Jordan Gymnasium, as fellow top-seed Logan Elm topped the Blue Angels by a 3-0 tally, in the Division II District Final.
Gallia Academy (25-1) charged out to a 5-3 lead in the opening game, but Logan Elm (26-0) claimed the next 12 points. The Lady Braves led by as much as 13 in the first and took the game by a 25-14 final.
LEHS led early in the second game, but the Blue Angels took a lead 9-6 lead with a 5-0 run. GAHS still held a three-point lead at 15-12, but Logan Elm scored the next eight-points and never trailed again, en route to a 25-18 victory.
Gallia Academy led 3-2 in the final game, but was outscored 23-to-3 over the remainder of the third, as the Lady Braves claimed the 25-6 victory and the 3-0 sweep.
“(Logan Elm) is a good team, they have several great hitters,” said GAHS head coach Janice Rosier. “It was hard for us, with a lack of size, to get a block up and slow them down.”
GAHS — which finished ninth in the final Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Division II poll — was led by senior libero Brooke Pasquale, who posted seven points including four aces. Carly Shriver had five points and one ace in the setback, while Jenna Meadows finished with four points.
At the net, Grace Martin and Ryleigh Caldwell led the Ohio Valley Conference champions, each posting eight kills and one block. Meadows, Shriver and Alex Barnes each had one kill in the match, with Shriver marking a team-best 18 assists.
Martin also led the Blue Angel defense with 27 digs, followed by Pasquale with 10.
Logan Elm — which finished fifth in the final coaches’ poll and has now won 70 consecutive games — was led Macie Rhoades with 20 points and Molly Caudill with 14.
Maggie Rhoades led the victors at the net with 12 kills, while Maria Boldoser, Macie Rhoades and Baylee Hartman each had 11 kills.
Boldoser paced the Lady Braves with seven blocks, Tabi Pontious marked a match-best 51 assists, while Caudill, Jull Congrove and Braya Elsea each had a team-best nine digs.
Logan Elm will now make its third-ever trip to regionals, and will face Cincinnati Wyoming. The Lady Braves last won the district crown in 2009.
This was the final game in the Blue and White for seniors Brooke Pasquale, Jenna Meadows, Ryleigh Caldwell and Carly Shriver, as well as Hannah McCormick, who was unable to play due to injury.
“They will be missed drastically,” Rosier said of her five seniors. “They’ve been playing together for so long, they’re all talented and we’re going to miss each and every one of them. They hustle, they love the game and they gave everything they had. I’m really proud of all of them.”
McCormick wasn’t the only Blue Angel to miss the district tournament due to injury, as sophomore Ashton Webb — who had over 150 kills on the year — was lost late in the regular season.
Even with the injuries, the Blue Angels set new school records for wins in a season, and longest winning streak to start the year. The 2016 squad also became the first GAHS team to complete a perfect regular season and the first Blue Angel team since 2001 to reach district final.
“We’ve had a great season,” Rosier said. “These girls have to be proud of what we’ve accomplished. With the injuries we ended up with, we switched our lineups. They adjusted and they overcame a lot of adversity. Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. We played Blue Angel volleyball and I’m ready for next year.”
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.
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