CENTENARY, Ohio — The postseason starts with a sweep.
The second-seeded Gallia Academy volleyball team — Ohio Valley Conference champions and ranked 16th in the latest OHSVCA Division II Poll — claimed a straight games victory over seventh-seeded Athens in the Division II sectional semifinal in Gallia County.
The Blue Angels (21-2) combined 19 kills, a pair of aces and one block in the opening game of the night, never trailing on their way to the 25-14 victory.
Athens (11-13) led for the first time in the match at 1-0 in the second game, but GAHS was in front at 6-5. The Lady Bulldogs were back on top at 10-9, but gave of the next three points, and never led again, falling by a 25-18 count in the second.
The Blue and White finished the night with a wire-to-wire 25-17 victory in the third, leading by as many as 11 in the set.
Following the win sixth-year GAHS head coach Janice Rosier acknowledged that were given a test with the Lady Bulldogs, who only committed 10 errors in the match.
“Athens made us work for it, but we knew coming in that it was going to start picking up,” Rosier said. “We expect each game to get a little tougher and a little harder. With what we’ve been working on, and the wide-variety of hitters and options that we have, we felt like we could do it.”
The Blue Angels were led by MaKenna Caldwell with 12 service points, including one ace. Alex Barnes and Peri Martin had eight points apiece, with three and two aces respectively, while Bailey Barnette posted six points and one ace. Maddie Wright finished with a trio of points and one ace in the win, while Maddy Petro chipped in with two points.
Barnes led Gallia Academy at the net with 14 kills and three blocks. Wright was next with 11 kills and two blocks, followed by Barnette with nine kills, and Petro with seven kills and a block. Martin earned five kills, one block and a match-best 41 assists, while Abby Hammons came up with a trio of kills.
Grace Reed led the guests with nine service points. Baelyn Carey and Kyleigh Heller had two points apiece, while Sarah Webb and Summer Gilkey claimed one point each.
Coach Rosier noted that the Blue Angels won’t be greatly altering their game plan moving forward, but that the team still has some work to do to reach its postseason potential.
“We have to get a little more consistent,” Rosier said. “We have to work on our block, we had a lot of touches on a lot of balls, but we have to clean that up a little bit. I just think we have to fine-tune some things that we’ve been doing all season, we’re not going to make any big changes.”
In Saturday’s sectional final, Gallia Academy hosts Waverly — the No. 3 seed — which defeated Jackson in straight games in its semifinal on Wednesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.