CENTENARY, Ohio — What a way to go.
In their final Southeastern Ohio Athletic League volleyball match, Gallia Academy earned a straight game victory over archrival Jackson, Thursday night in Gallia County.
The Blue Angels (20-2, 5-1 SEOAL) — who had already wrapped up their third straight league title — trailed early in the opening game, but rallied back to take a 10-8 lead. Jackson (14-7, 2-4) regained the lead briefly at 12-11, but the Blue and White took back the advantage at 13-12. The Ironladies tied the game at 16, but never regained the lead and GAHS took the first game by a 25-17 final.
The teams battled through six ties early in the second game, the final of which came at 13. GAHS outscored the Red and White 12-to-1 over the remainder of the game and took the second by a 25-14 count.
Jackson built a five-point lead in the third game, but Gallia Academy rallied all the way back to take a 22-21 lead. The Ironladies tied the game twice, but the Blue Angels held on for a 25-23 victory, which sealed the match by a 3-0 tally.
“They came back and played really aggressive tonight,” second year Gallia Academy head coach Janice Rosier said of her team. “We haven’t been playing as aggressive as we did at the start of the season, we backed off, but they came back today and played our type of game.”
GAHS junior Abby Wood led the Blue and White with 13 service points, including two aces, while fellow junior Carly Shriver added nine points and one ace. Brooke Pasquale and Ashton Webb both posted seven points, with two aces by Pasquale and one by Webb. Jenna Meadows finished with five points and two aces, while Grace Martin rounded out the Blue Angel service attack with two points in the win.
Martin led Gallia Academy at the net with nine kills and four blocks, followed by University of Rio Grande commit Jordan Walker with eight kills. Webb finished with seven kills, Meadows added four kills and a block, Hanna Johnson posted two kills, while Shriver and Ryleigh Caldwell each had one kill. Pasquale led the GAHS defense with 27 digs, followed by Meadows with 20, while Shriver and Martin both posted 13 assists to lead the Blue and White.
Jackson was led by Maddie Munn with nine points, followed by Celeste Stiltner and Brittney Smith with four each. Katie Hemsley posted three points, while Kiersten Cavender, Kinnison Donaldson and Katlynn Jackson each had one service point for the Ironladies.
The Blue Angels — who also defeated Jackson in straight games on September 24, in the Apple City —have now claimed 14 straight against the Ironladies. The last time JHS defeated Gallia Academy was 2008. Prior to the match, Gallia Academy honored seniors Jordan Walker and Hanna Johnson, as well as seniors from Jackson.
The 20 wins posted by the Blue Angels ties the program record for wins in a season, with the 2007 squad that finished 20-2 after losing in the opening round of the postseason. The Ohio Valley Conference and SEOAL champs are hoping for a different postseason result following this year’s historic campaign.
“I’m always confident in my team, I believe in them,” Rosier said. “We’ve already reached two of our goals, and we start on the next one next week. We’ll practice hard this week and hopefully good things come.”
Gallia Academy returns to action in the sectional semifinal on Wednesday, when the top-seeded Blue Angels host the winner of Monday’s Vinton County at Meigs quarterfinal tilt.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.