TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Killing two birds with one stone.
Visiting Waterford spoiled senior night festivities for the Eastern volleyball team while also clinching an outright league championship Thursday night following a 25-23, 25-21, 26-24 decision in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division finale for both programs at the Eagle’s Nest.
The Lady Wildcats (20-2, 16-0 TVC Hocking) clinched their third outright league title in the last six years, which included a perfect 16-0 mark during the 2010 campaign — the first year that the TVC Hocking had nine programs. It is also the fourth consecutive year that the TVC Hocking champion has finished the season with an unblemished league mark.
The host Lady Eagles (19-3, 14-2) — who won the 2011 and 2012 league titles with matching 16-0 records — honored seniors Jordan Parker, Lindsay Wolfe, Katie Keller, Maddie Rigsby, Erin Swatzel and Paige Cline before the game for their collective years of hard work and dedication with the program.
Waterford, however, managed to squash that early momentum, as the guests jumped out to Game 1 leads of 4-0, 8-2 and 13-6 — their biggest lead of the opener. EHS countered with a 10-3 surge to tie things up at 16, then both teams played through ties at 17-, 21- and 22-all.
WHS scored consecutive points for a 24-22 edge, then traded points with Eastern over the next two serves to wrap up the two-point decision for a 1-0 match lead.
Waterford again jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in Game 2, but EHS answered with five of the next six points to take its final lead of the game at 5-4. Both teams were locked up again at 4-, 5-, 6- and 12-all, but the Lady Cats reeled off seven of the next nine point to claim their biggest lead at 21-14.
Eastern retaliated with 7-3 run to get as close as 24-21, but Waterford came up with the next point for a four-point triumph and a 2-0 match lead.
Eastern led twice in each of the first two games, but never by more than one point at any time. WHS, conversely, started each game with 3-0 leads and was ahead by as many as seven points in both contests. There were also nine ties and 11 lead changes total in the first two games.
Game 3, however, turned into a war, as both clubs battled through nine ties and 10 lead changes in the finale. The Lady Eagles claimed their biggest lead of the entire match at 23-20, but Waterford rallied back to knot things up at 24-all before scoring the final two points to secure the triumph.
Waterford also claimed a season sweep of the Lady Eagles after posting a 24-26, 25-17, 24-26, 25-11, 15-8 victory at WHS back on September 19. The home loss was the first for Eastern since suffering a four-game setback to Waterford on September 9, 2010 — which snaps a 40-match home winning streak.
Maddie Rigsby led the EHS service attack with nine points and three aces, followed by Katie Keller with eight points and Jordan Parker with five points and one ace. Lindsay Wolfe and Erin Swatzel each contributed four service points, while Kelsey Johnson rounded things out with three points.
Parker led the net attack with 14 kills and four blocks, followed by Rigsby with 10 kills and Swatzel with four kills. Johnson added a kill and a block to the setback, while Wolfe, Swatzel and Kaitlyn Barber also had a block apiece.
Paige Cline led the defense with 32 digs, followed by Rigsby with 31 digs and Parker with 27 digs. Wolfe paced the offense with 24 assists.
Laura Hill led the guests with 13 service points, followed by Dani Drayer with 11 points and Madison Sury with seven points.