- Salem, OHIO (WKBN) – The Crestview Rebels have a history of being a successful volleyball program. Saturday afternoon the top-seeded Rebels added a chapter to that history as they captured the DIII District Championship at Salem in three sets over the third-seeded South Range Raiders 25-22, 25-13, and 25-22.
The Rebels last captured a district title in 2016 and lost to Springfield last year in the semi-finals on the same court. That served as a motivating factor coming into 2019.
“It definitely had an effect on us,” Rebels senior Amelia Montgomery said of losing in the semi-finals last year. “We played Salem and lost to them (this year), and it kind of opened our eyes that we can lose so we need to give it all that we have. Thinking back on those two games pushed us to be the best that we can be.”
- “In tournaments, anything can happen. You have to be focused every game. They did not like the feeling they had leaving here last year, and I told them to remember it,” Rebels head coach Alisha Auer said of the Rebels losing in the semi-finals of the Salem district last year.
The Rebels seized the moment and grabbed the early momentum as they raced out to an 8-2 advantage before the Raiders made a 14-5 run to take a 16-13 lead in the match. The Rebels finished the set strong though as they finished with a 12-6 run to take the hard-fought opening set 25-22.
“We knew we had the ability to win, we just had to kick it into gear. A lot of times it was just we got this, we just need to calm down and we can do this,” Montgomery said of the opening set.
“I think Crestview had an answer for us, and we played really well. We tried to play our game. Crestview is an awesome team and I have to give a lot of credit to them. We hit really hard, we covered the floor really well, we did everything I asked them and made adjustments. But Crestview had an answer for us all the way through,” Raiders head coach Katie Luklan described the fierce opening set.
“We had a lot of nervous energy. South Range served very tough, and once we adjusted you started to see the difference in games two and three. That made a big difference,” Auer explained the tough set.
The Rebels carried the momentum from the first set into the second as they rushed out to a 14-3 lead before the Raiders closed to within 16-9. But the Rebels finished strong as they went on a 9-4 run to take the second set 25-13.
Once again the Rebels surged to an early lead, this time in the third set as they held a quick 7-2 advantage. The Raiders would fight back as they closed the deficit down to just 2-points at 13-11 with a 9-6 run. Momentum would shift back in the Rebels favor again as they went on a 9-3 run to hold a 22-14 lead late in the set. But to the Raiders credit, they made one last desperate charge as they went on a 7-2 run to make it 24-21 before the Raiders had a side out to give the Rebels the game-winning point.
“It was a fun match to play in. Crestview, we were really lucky to get to play them. They made all my teammates better. I couldn’t be more proud of my team,” Raiders senior Emily Irons said of the hard fought match.
“They came in from the jump when we had open gyms in April. They really set the tone and worked really hard which started with our three seniors (Emily Irons, Anna Primavera, and Abby George). They created an environment for us to thrive in,” Luklan reflected on the past season for her Raiders.
The Raiders, who close the season with a 15-10 record were led by Anna Primavera with 6 kills, and 5 digs, Abby George with 7 kills and 2 blocks, and Emily Irons with 21 assists and 6 digs. Reagan Irons added 13 digs and Izzy Lamparty had 6 kills and 2 blocks.
The Rebels were led by Tess Neville with 18 kills and 7 digs, Sidney Rambo 10 kills and 4 assist, Shelby Rambo with 8 kills, and Amelia Montgomery with 17 digs. Lucy Montgomery had 35 assist and 12 digs, while Brenna Auer had 4 kills and 13 digs.
The Rebels will face the Independence Blue Devils on Thursday at Barberton High School at 7:00 PM. The Blue Devils are 22-4 on this season and finished as state runner-up last year in Division III.