JACKSON, Ohio — The Lady Titans were top-seeded for a reason.
The second-seeded Southern volleyball team had its postseason run come to an end in the Division IV district final on Saturday at Jackson High School, with No. 1 seed Portsmouth Notre Dame taking a straight games win by counts of 25-16, 25-11 and 25-23.
The Lady Tornadoes (17-7) jumped out to a 10-6 lead in the opening game, but the Lady Titans (22-3) scored the next 10 points and led the rest of the way to the 25-16 victory.
Notre Dame took its first lead of the second game at 4-3, but the Purple and Gold were back in front at 6-5. NDHS, however, claimed the next eight points and never trailed again, going up 2-0 in the match with a 25-11 win.
The Lady Titans built a 17-8 lead in the finale, before Southern rallied back to tie it at 17. SHS also tied it up at 19, but never took the lead and eventually fell by a 25-23 tally.
Following the season-ending setback, fourth-year Lady Tornadoes head coach Kim Hupp commended her team for never giving up in the match.
“This group played right down to the last point of the third set,” Hupp said. “They found a way to get themselves back into the game and get some momentum to finish strong.”
Cassidy Roderus led the Lady Tornadoes with nine service points, including three aces. Sydney Adams and Phoenix Cleland finished with four points apiece, with Adams earning two aces, while Jordan Hardwick came up with three points. Baylee Wolfe had two points on two aces in the setback, while Kayla Evans claimed one point on an ace.
At the net, Hardwick led Southern with seven kills and two blocks. Wolfe was next with five kills and one block, followed by Roderus with four kills, and Evans with two kills. Adams and Cleland finished with a kill apiece, with Adams also recording a block and a team-best 14 assists.
Leading the victors, Ava Hassel had 13 points and four aces, Taylor Schmidt added 11 points and two aces, while Cassie Schaefer had 10 points and one ace. Sophia Hassel ended with eight points in the win, while Joyce Zheng had five points and an ace.
Schmidt paced the Lady Titan attack with nine kills. Sophia Hassel ended with seven kills, Ava Hassel had four kills and a block, while Schaefer claimed four kills and a team-best 21-assists. Chloe Delabar and Claire Dettwiller finished with three kills apiece for NDHS, with a match-best three blocks by Delabar.
After winning six matches in each of the last two seasons, and losing five of their first nine to start this year, Coach Hupp noted the change in the Lady Tornadoes’ that led them to win 13 of their final 15 decisions.
“The girls started to get comfortable in their rotations and were able to find a way to finish games,” Hupp said. “Their confidence improved with each win. I’m very proud of them for working hard to make this a successful season.”
Notre Dame — headed to its fourth straight regional — also advanced past Southern in the district final to start the streak in 2016.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.