PIKETON, Ohio — Unfortunately, the third time wasn’t a charm.
The Southern volleyball team had its memorable 2021 season come to an end with a third straight loss to Trimble this year following a 25-11, 25-15, 25-21 decision on Thursday night in a Division IV Southeast district championship match held at Piketon High School.
The sixth-seeded Lady Tornadoes (12-11) held leads in each of the three sets and battled through 17 ties and 11 lead changes by night’s end, but the second-seeded Lady Tomcats (22-2) ultimately had all of the answers en route to securing their third consecutive straight-game triumph over SHS this fall.
With the win, Trimble — the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division champions — advance to next week’s Division IV regional tournament.
All three of the Game 1 ties came on the way to a 3-all contest, but THS countered with 12 of the next 15 points to open up a 15-6 cushion. The Lady Cats ended up going 2-for-1 the rest of the way (10-5) and claimed a 14-point win, their largest lead of the entire match.
SHS built leads of 6-4, 7-5 and 8-6 in Game 2, then broke away from an 11-all tie to take its final 2-point lead at 11-9. Trimble countered by tying things at 13-all, then made a 7-1 charge to secure a 20-14 edge. THS scored five of the final six points for a 10-point win and a 2-0 match cushion.
There were seven ties and five lead changes in the finale, and the Lady Tornadoes rallied back from a 17-12 deficit with a 7-1 surge to claim their final lead of the night at 19-18. Trimble countered with seven of the final 10 points to complete the 4-point win and straight-game decision.
It was the second time in three years that Southern ended its season as a D-4 district runner-up, joining the 2019 squad.
Kayla Evans led the SHS service attack with seven points and an ace, followed by both Cassidy Roderus and Marlo Norris with three points apiece. Kassidy Chaney was next with two points, while Lauren Smith and Emilee Barber added a point each.
Roderus paced the guests with six kills, while Evans added four kills and two blocks. Chaney chipped in two kills, and the duo of Logan Greenlee and Kelsey Lewis also added a kill apiece.
Lila Cooper provided a team-high four blocks and Barber dished out 13 assists in the setback.
Faith Handley paced Trimble with nine service points, with Brianna Orsborn and Laikyn Imler adding eight points apiece.
Imler led THS with 10 kills and Adelynn Stevens followed with seven kills and three blocks.
It was the final volleyball match for seniors Brooke Crisp, Jacelynn Northup, Kelly Shaver, Kayla Evans, Kelsey Lewis, Logan Greenlee and Cassidy Roderus in the Purple and Gold.
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Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.