JACKSON, Ohio — A historic win … at the expense of a historic foe.
The Gallia Academy volleyball team set a new school record for its best start to a season following a 25-17, 25-20, 25-17 victory over host Jackson in the first-ever non-conference match between former SEOAL rivals Wednesday night in the Apple City.
The Blue Angels (19-0) — who started playing JHS in volleyball in the mid-1970s — eclipsed last year’s team mark of 18-0 to start a season with a straight-game sweep of the Ironladies (7-12). Even more impressively, GAHS accomplished the feat without two of its regular starters — who were out due to injury.
The Blue and White never trailed in Game 1 and twice led by as many as eight points (21-13) en route to claiming a 1-0 match lead with the opening eight-point victory.
Things were much closer in the middle game as JHS and the Blue Angels battled through five ties and six lead changes, with the last tie coming at 19-all. GAHS reeled off six of the final seven points en route to a five-point victory and a 2-0 match lead.
Jackson jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the finale, but the guests answered with five consecutive points and never looked back en route to an eight-point win and a straight-game decision.
The Blue Angels — who have now won 18 consecutive games — received a team-high 12 service points from Grace Martin, followed by Carly Shriver with nine points and Brooke Pasquale with seven points.
Ryleigh Caldwell and Alex Barnes were next with five points apiece, with Jenna Wood also contributing two points for the victors. Shriver and Martin also had three aces apiece.
Martin led the net attack with 10 kills and six blocks, with Barnes also adding nine kills and two blocks. Caldwell was next with six kills, while Aubrey Unroe and Hunter Copley each contributed three kills as well for the guests.
Shriver led the offense with 15 assists, while Pasquale paced the defense with 18 digs. Martin and Caldwell also came away with 12 digs and nine digs, respectively, in the triumph.
Melinda Ruggles led Jackson with nine service points, followed by Maddie Munn, Lydia Hatten and Jordan Banks with three points apiece. Abby Wood and Olivia Carroll also had two points and one point, respectively, in the loss.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.