CENTENARY, Ohio — There’s nothing quite like leaving on top.
In their final season as a member of the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League, the Blue Angels have clinched a share of the league crown. The Gallia Academy volleyball team — which is ranked 13th in the OHSVCA Division II poll — claimed a 3-1 victory over Warren, Thursday night in Gallia County, securing a share of the Blue Angels’ sixth SEOAL championship.
Gallia Academy (16-0, 4-0 SEOAL) — which also won at least a share of the league title in 1978, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014 — charged out to an early lead in the opening game, but Warren battled back to take an advantage at 11-10. The Lady Warriors lead was short-lived however, as the Blue Angels regained the edge at 13-12. WHS managed to tie the game twice after surrendering the lead, but Gallia Academy never trailed again and held on for the 25-23.
The Blue Angels never trailed in the second game, storming to a 25-13 victory and a 2-0 lead in the match.
After a pair of lead changes early in the third game, Warren established a sizable 21-13 lead. Gallia Academy rallied to within three points late in the third, but WHS held on for a 25-21 victory to force a fourth game. The GAHS setback ended a 13-game winning streak and sent the Blue Angels to a fourth game for just the fifth time this season.
The Lady Warriors managed just three service points in the fourth game, and the Blue Angels cruised to a 25-12 victory and a 3-1 match win.
“I’m just really proud of these girls, they’ve worked so hard,” second year Gallia Academy head coach Janice Rosier said. “Warren is always a great team, always well coached and always puts up a fight. To clinch at least a piece of the league right now is really good, but we still have a few games to go.”
Gallia Academy’s service attack was led by junior Abby Wood and junior libero Brooke Pasquale with 11 points apiece, including an ace by Pasquale. Jenna Meadows posted nine points and one ace, Carly Shriver added six points and one ace, while Ashton Webb and Grace Martin both marked five points.
Martin led the Blue Angels at the net with 20 kills and seven blocks, followed by Jordan Walker with 13 kills and six blocks. Webb posted eight kills, Ryleigh Caldwell added seven, Hanna Johnson marked six kills and a block, while Meadows and Shriver each had one kill in the win. Meadows led the GAHS defense with 31 digs, followed by Wood with 22 and Martin with 18. Shriver marked a team-best 24 assists in the win, while Allison McGhee chipped in with 13.
“Every practice we strive to be better,” Rosier said. “I always tell the girls that they need to do something everyday to be the best they can possibly be. They have to check it off of their lists every day and I think we’re doing everything we can.”
Gallia Academy, which currently is the only SEOAL team to defeat the Lady Warriors, also defeated Warren on September 10, by a 3-1 count in Vincent. This is the first time GAHS has defeated Warren twice in a season since the turn of the Millennium, but the Blue Angels defeated the Lady Warriors in their only meeting in the 2007 season.
The Blue Angels will put their unblemished mark on the line Monday, when they visit South Point for an Ohio Valley Conference showdown.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.