NAPOLEON – In rather anticlimactic fashion, a service error ended Pettisville’s chance of a comeback as they were inching closer to Ayersville in the fourth set of a Division IV district semifinal volleyball match at Napoleon Tuesday. But as it stood, the Blackbirds fell to the Pilots 25-16, 25-20, 23-25, 25-23, ending their season.
“Ayersville was the better team tonight. They played very tough and scrappy defense,” said Pettisville coach John Horning.
After struggling in the first two sets, Pettisville gathered themselves in game three.
A Pilot service error, Jess Youse’ ace, and back-to-back kills from Pettisville’s Ryeana Klopfenstein extended their lead to 22-12. However, with the help of five Blackbird hitting errors and the hitting of Ashlee Tressler and Amanda Addington, Ayersville later pulled within one, 24-23.
Morgan Lepplemeier answered the bell for Pettisville as her kill from the left side finished it off, trimming the Pilots’ lead in the match at 2-1.
The Birds trailed by five on more than one occasion in the fourth and final set, before eventually clawing back.
Logan Tijerina’s kill for Ayersville put them up 20-14, then Pettisville’s Kendal Pursel recorded a block. Sami Tilley also got a block for the Birds, and two Leppelmeier kills made it a two-point margin.
A shot from the right side by Pettisville’s Mauricea Crouch in between three Tijerina kills bumped the Pilot lead back to four, 23-19.
But, Leppelmeier’s two-handed push that found a hole, an Ayersville hitting error, and a Leppelmeier ace quickly erased that and made it 23-22. The two squads traded points via Tijerina’s shot from the right side and a block by Youse, but the Birds ensuing serve went too far.
Pettisville trailed by double digits in the first set and wound up losing by nine.
In the second set, they got behind 14-4 when seven straight Pilot points broke it open. They would keep fighting and make it much more respectable by the end.
Their comeback attempt which started with back-to-back kills by Youse, made it 22-15. After that, an ace from Crouch and another Youse kill got the Birds within five.
Tijerina followed with a shot that found a hole for the Pilots. However, Youse then got another kill, a Pilot error, and a push shot from Pettisville’s Kendal Pursel put the score at 23-20.
Ayersville closed it out with Kryshel Dales’ shot from the left side and a Blackbird error.
Pettisville ends the season with a 16-8 record.
“I am proud of the effort and improvement this team has made over the season,” concluded Horning.
“Our seniors…Kyra (Behnfeldt), Jess (Youse), Kendal (Pursel) and Sami (Tilley) will be hard to replace next year. They all improved so much in the last four years and were huge contributors to our team’s success this year.”
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010