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Perrysburg pulled within striking distance of winning the volleyball program's first Northern Lakes League title since 1994 on Tuesday night.
The Yellow Jackets knocked off defending champion Springfield 3-1 on the Blue Devils' home court. In a match before a loud crowd and filled with explosive, back-and-forth action, Perrysburg prevailed 25-21, 25-22, 19-25, 25-21.
PHOTO GALLERY: Perrysburg defeats Springfield
The Yellow Jackets (17-2) remained undefeated in the NLL (11-0). They have three league games left but the contests are most likley favored against foes Northview, Southview, and Maumee.
“This is a great feeling. It's been a long time,” Perrysburg coach Jamie Babcock said. “We knew we had to get past Anthony Wayne and Springfield. Those were our goals. The work these girls have put in is second to none.”
Perrysburg, which is ranked No. 9 in the latest Division I state coaches poll, swept both of the NLL's other top teams.
Junior outside hitters Audra Appold and Savannah Miller did the bulk of the damage with powerful kills throughout the match. Appold finished with a team-high 16 kills followed by Miller's 15.
“It was really big,” Appold said. “We've worked hard all season for this. It's an awesome feeling. The last time Perrysburg won the NLL was a really long time ago.”
Perrysburg never trailed in the decisive fourth game, but Springfield (14-3, 9-2) did tie it at 18. The Blue Devils were within one point, 22-21, on Taylor Emery's ace. Appold's kill made it 23-21. Miller finished the match with two kills, including a tremendous right-hand slam to provide an exclamation point.
“It was the best feeling I could give to my team,” Miller said. “We really clicked together and worked as a team. We all wanted it so bad.”
Perrysburg went up 13-6 in the first game and never fell behind in posting the 25-21 win.
The Blue Devils started the second game with a furious rally, seizing an 11-2 lead while building momentum. But Perrysburg called a timeout and the Yellow Jackets countered with a 9-1 run.
“I told them we weren't playing Perrysburg volleyball,” Babcock said. “We were playing Springfield volleyball. We were reacting versus being proactive and making our own moves. It speaks volumes about their character.”
Perrysburg took its first lead in the second game at 20-19, took advantage of some Springfield errors and won the game on Miller's kill after a nice dig by Appold.
But Springfield put together runs of 4-0 and 8-3 in the third game to win 25-19. Senior Michelle Asiedu had nine of her game-high 23 kills in the third game for the Blue Devils.
“We came out fresh for the third set,” Springfield coach McKenna Reitz said. “They're outside hitters are strong and powerful. We made them swing and swing a lot, which I was excited about. Perrysburg is a great team. I believe we have offensive weapons, too. We just couldn't execute.”
Babcock said she expected to “battle for a couple of hours.”
“I expected four or five sets. They are a great team,” she said.
Babcock said her team will not overlook neither Southview or Northview, both road games.
“They're both good programs and we have to keep our heads up and keep working,” Babcock said.