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Crestview saw their season come to a close on Thursday night with a three set loss to Independence. (22-25 4-25 8-25)

The energy in the gym at Barberton High School was ramped up after a thrilling match to start the night. Crestview and Independence saw their start time pushed back about 45 minutes because of the length of match one. The wait didn’t affect either team in set one as it was highly contested. After being tied 5-5, Independence took a 9-5 lead and seemed to have momentum. The Rebels came marching back getting it to 7-9. They stayed in striking distance until they finally saw room to make a run and tie the set at 16-16. The Rebels would take an 18-17 lead later on and looked to be on their way. With the set tied at 20-20 by far, the longest rally of the night went the way of the Blue Devils, and they used that to rattle off 3 in a row. With set point at 24-21, the Rebels were only able to get one point back before bowing out of set one 22-25. Although they stayed close and made some clutch points, the Rebels offense struggled in set one. They only gathered 4 kills, and finished with a .000 hitting percentage.

Min set two that lack of offense would catch up with the Rebels in a haunting way. The Devils aired up their errors and played crystal clean volleyball. The Rebels could not get any traction once this high powered Blue Devils team got rolling. They were like a freight train each swing getting harder than the last. The Rebels tried calling timeouts, tried to get their energy up but it was to no avail as the Devils have clear momentum in the set.

That momentum did not go anywhere in set three, as the Devils jumped out to a 9-2 lead. That quickly ballooned into a bigger lead. The Rebels showed some fight and pride as they went on a couple of small runs towards the end. Tess Neville hammered away what would end up being her last kill as a Rebel late in the set. The Devils persisted and took set three 25-8.

Tess Neville led a struggling offense with 2 kills, Brenna Auer also added 2 kills. Lucy Montgomery had 7 assists.

The Rebels end their season at 24-2. Coach Auer had five powerful words for her team that echoed through the gym. “This doesn’t define our season.” The Rebels win a district championship for the first time since 2016 and put their program back on the map.

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