DAYTON - The DeSales Irish volleyball team led 18-11 in the first set, but the Dayton Bulldogs rallied on a 9-2 run to tie it at 20 and go on to win, 25-22.
"I was really proud of the girls in the first game," Dayton coach Shannon Turner said. "We were way
down, but we kept our focus and heads in the game to pull out the victory."
Set one's victory was a momentum changer as the Bulldogs took that win and pummeled the Irish 25-12 in the second.
"We could have had better passing and defense tonight," DeSales coach Lori Blanc said. "Defense has pulled us through a lot of matches, and it was a little iffy tonight.
"We usually rely on our defense, we play scrappy and scramble," she said. "We just didn't have that this evening."
Set three was another tough battle, but the Bulldogs came out on top 25-21 to take the match in
straight sets and wrap up the Southeast 2B League championship.
Dayton, 9-1 in the SE2B, finishes at Tri-Cities Prep today.
The loss leaves DeSales, 7-3 in league, tied with Asotin in the SE2B headed into the final league match against Walla Walla Valley Academy tonight.
"I knew we were ready coming into tonight," Turner said of the match, which was rescheduled after last Thursday's match was postponed due to a propane leak in the Bulldog gym. "We've had some really good practices lately. We've improved a lot since mid-season, the girls are really working well together right now - a lot of good team work and chemistry.
"I thought for sure we'd go at least four games with them, but we played really consistently and didn't
let down much."
"It is disappointing to lose in three after we have played so well in the second half of the season," Blanc said. "This was our first loss in the second half of the season."
The action in game one was fast and furious. It was a back-and-forth affair with a tie at every number up to eight.
Tied at 8-all, DeSales went on a 6-0 run, sparked by an ace and kill by Annie Higgins to start the rally, to make it 14-8 Irish.
Higgins finished the match with eight kills and was 9-of-9 serving.
The Irish pushed the lead to 18-10, led by Abby Larreau, who had two kills and a block in that stretch.
Larreau finished with six kills, five blocks and was 11-of-11 serving.
Two aces by Dayton's McKayla Bickelhaupt and a midcourt kill from Jessica Tate to the right court of the Irish helped lead the Bulldogs back to 19-16.
Bickelhaupt tallied up 10 kills and 23 digs in the match. Tate had 12 digs and four kills.
Two Irish unforced errors, a kill into the net and a double hit made it 19-18 Irish. Then Higgins spiked one into the ground from the net to make it 20-18 before another unforced Irish error.
After that, a kill by Dayton's Shelby Smith evened the score at 20 all. Smith finished with five kills and four blocks.
An ace and kill by the Bulldogs' Nicole Lambert - along with another kill by Smith - helped Dayton get to 25-21 to win the first set.
Lambert contributed 23 digs and eight kills in the match.
Set two wasn't nearly as close between the two teams. The Bulldogs jumped out on top 8-0 quickly, and the Irish never threatened.
In the third set, again the Bulldogs jumped out ahead early. This time they started out with a lead of
5-1, but the Irish put on a better comeback took the lead at 10-9 midway through the set. A Stephanie Ferrel mid-court smash and an ace by Jade Donnelly started the rally. A kill by Higgins and another spike by Ferrel actually captured the lead.
Ferrel finished with eight kills and 23 digs.
A spike by Lambert knotted the score at 10. Another Ferrel kill and an ace by Alex Buley made the score 12-10 Irish.
At 13-11 Irish, the set and match started to unravel for DeSales. Dayton went on an 8-2 run to
make it 19-15, with four kills by Bickelhaupt leading the way for Dayton in the run.
The Irish never recovered and lost 25-21.
Other statistical leaders for the Irish in Monday's match were Chantel Blanc with 19 assists and Alex Buley with 10-10 serving.
Rounding out the Bulldogs' stat page were Darci Hall with 11 digs and eight assists, along with Courtney Mings with 10 digs and four blocks.