East Palestine Volleyball’s season came to an end Saturday night with a five set heartbreaker to Lake Central Catholic in the sectional finals. (24-26 25-22 25-17 22-25 15-17)
The match was very even from the start. The teams were pretty similar in style and in talent level. East Palestine was able to get a little separation late in set one with a 20-17 lead, but in what would be a theme all night Lake Central fought back to grab the set 26-24.
Min set two Palestine jumped out to a big 9-4 lead to start but the Tigers would not go away. Eventually, the set ended up tied at 14. The Bulldogs made some big-time plays while the set was tied up at 21-21 to pull enough away to win 25-22.
Set three was the only set that was one-sided. East Palestine came out strong. Emily Berger started to flex her muscles and help the Bulldogs keep their separation. An ace from McKenna Griffith gave the Bulldogs set three 25-17.
Just when it seemed that East Palestine had all the momentum, Central responded with a big run in set four. A 5-0 rally while trailing 14-8 got the Tigers within one. The Tigers then went on a 9-6 stretch to lead 22-20, and eventually take the set 25-22.
It was Lake Central that came out strong in set five. They pushed ahead 9-3 before the Bulldogs had to use a timeout. The Bulldogs came out of the time timeout and went on an 8-2 run to tie it up at 11-11. The teams traded points until the set was tied up at 15-15. Lake Central then scored two points in a row to take the set 17-15 and the match 3-2.
Emily Berger led the Bulldogs with a double-double she had 22 kills, 17 digs, and 3 blocks. Olivia Figley also had a strong night with 17 kills. Morgan Cheurco finished with 37 assists, 11 digs, and an ace.
East Palestine finishes the season with a record of 15-8.