GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The first goal was getting back to state.
That mission is now accomplished.
After a one year absence, the Ohio Valley Christian volleyball team is headed back to the state tournament after claiming a 25-12, 25-9, 25-8 victory over visiting New Hope Christian Academy in the OCSAA Southeast Regional championship match held Tuesday night in the Old French City.
The top-seeded Lady Defenders (22-1) trailed 6-3 early into Game 1, but the hosts rallied with 15 of the next 18 points to turn a three-point deficit into a commanding 18-9 edge. OVCS closed the opening game with a 7-3 spurt to wrap up the 13-point win and a 1-0 match advantage.
The Lady Defenders never trailed in Game 2 after establishing early leads of 6-1 and 14-4, then the hosts received seven straight service points from Marcie Kessinger for a comfortable 21-4 cushion.
New Hope scored five of the final nine points, but Ohio Valley Christian eventually secured a 16-point win and a 2-0 match advantage.
The Lady Defenders never trailed in Game 3 after taking early leads of 7-1 and 19-6. The hosts never looked back while rolling on to a 17-point win for the straight-game triumph.
Katie Westfall led the OVCS service attack with 14 points, followed by Emily Childers with 11 points and Rachel Sargent with 10 points. Kessinger was next with nine points, while Katie Bradley and Cori Hutchison respectively added six and four points to the winning cause.
Childers led the hosts with nine service aces and Westfall also contributed seven aces.
Bradley led the Lady Defenders with 11 kills, followed by Hutchison, Childers and Sargent with three kills apiece. Sargent also had the team’s only block.
Ohio Valley Christian — which last played in the OCSAA Final Four in 2014 — travels to Circleville on Friday, Nov. 4, for its semifinal match at Ohio Christian University. The championship and consolation matches will be played on Saturday, Nov. 5.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.