Jonathan Alder’s Ava Francis sends the ball over the net Friday morning against Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin. The Lady Pioneers fell, 3-0, during the Division II state semifinal match that was held at Vandalia-Butler High School. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
There has long been the assumption that the farther a team goes in post-season play, the tougher the opposition is going to be.
The Lady Pioneers of Jonathan Alder learned that in a big way Friday morning.
Alder was swept 3-0 (17-25, 12-25, 15-25) by Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin during the Division II state semifinal volleyball match that was played at Vandalia-Butler High School.
“About the most elementary way I can say it is that Cathedral Latin is a really good team and played really well,” said Jonathan Alder coach Joe Ross.
The Lady Pioneers went into the match with the state Final Four’s No. 2 seed and a perfect 22-0 record.
The Lions were rated the fourth seed and took a 13-4 mark into the match.
Jonathan Alder got into some trouble right from the start.
A kill by Chardon’s Caroline Jurevicius put JA behind 7-2 during the opening set.
The Lady Pioneers, however, kept battling back and pulled to within 9-8 after two ace serves by Emma Shepherd.
Ava Francis tallied one of her five kills for the initial game and pulled JA to within 11-8.
Alder stayed within a couple of points over the next several minutes.
Jurevicius’ next kill (one of her eight for the set) gave the Lions an 18-14 lead.
The kill also allowed Cathedral Latin to put some separation between the two teams.
Alder committed several hitting and passing miscues, which enabled the Lions to climb to a 21-14 spread.
A kill from Shepherd narrowed JA’s deficit to 22-16.
Hanna Bissler blasted a pair of kills to put the Lions at set point – 24-16.
Cathedral Latin sent a block out of play to give JA its final point of the set.
Bissler then tipped over a kill to give the Lions a 1-0 lead in sets.
The ensuing game was tied a total of six times.
Ellie Heisler’s kill broke one of the stalemates and gave Alder a 7-5 margin.
The final deadlock came at 9-9 on Francis’ kill.
Bissler broke the stalemate with a kill and the Lady Pioneers were called for a double hit.
Jaden Phelps’ kill sliced JA’s deficit to 13-11.
At that point, however, momentum began to firmly shift in Cathedral Latin’s favor.
A kill by Jurevicius opened up an 18-12 margin of which the Lady Pioneers could not overcome.
A trio of JA hitting mistakes put the Lions up 21-12.
Jurevicius and Missy Sterkle teamed for a block that pushed Chardon out to a 23-12 advantage.
Alder couldn’t keep the ball in play as the Lions reached set point – 24-12.
Jurevicius and Sterkel combined for another block that gave the Lions the winning point and a 2-0 margin.
The Lady Pioneers held three-and-four point advantages during the early going of the third game.
An errant serve reception by the Lions upped JA’s lead at 10-6.
Francis tallied another of her 14 kills for the match.
As such, JA held on to an 11-7 lead.
The Lions rallied for the upper hand, but a kill from Francis later tied the score at 13-all.
Once again, the Lions began to make their move.
Cathedral Latin responded to Alder’s blasts over the net with solid digs that sent the sphere to the team’s setters.
The setters, in turn, assisted Jurevicius and Bissler for additional kills.
Sterkle later blasted the ball over the net for a 19-13 Lion advantage.
The Lady Pioneers had difficulties keeping the sphere in play over the next several minutes.
JA was whistled for a four hits infraction, which pushed NDCL out to a 22-14 margin.
Alder serving and hitting errors down the stretch gave the Lions enough points to finish the match with their sweep.
The setback was the only one for the Lady Pioneers during a stellar season.
While Francis averaged nearly nearly five kills per game, she acknowledged NDCL’s stout blocking game.
“I tried to swing around their blocks,” she said. “However, the ball seemed to go to their best passers, who got the ball to their setters.”
Ross said he made some adjustments to try and counter the Lions’ strong front line.
“We went with a bigger lineup as the match progressed,” he said. “Our girls made some good plays, but again, Cathedral Latin played a really good match.”
Kennady Izzard of Jonathan Alder sends a pass toward a setter on Friday. The Lady Pioneers fell to Notre Dame Cathedral Latin during the Division II state semifinals at Vandalia-Butler High School. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
Emma Shepherd of Alder rips the ball over a Cathedral Latin blocker during Friday morning’s volleyball match. The Lady Pioneers were swept by the Lions during the Division II state semifinal match. The contest was held at Vandalia-Butler High School. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)
Alder’s Grace Nees (22) and Ellie Heisler (26) go up for a block against Chardon Notre Dame Cathedral Latin. (Journal-Tribune photo by Sam Dillon)