By Rob Kiser
ARCANUM — In match that may have set a record for double hits called (sarcasm noted), the volleyball fans from Lehman Catholic and Riverside were denied a five-set thriller by a questionable “no-touch” call on a Lehman kill attempt that clearly deflected off a Riverside player.
Instead of getting that point that would prove critical, Lehman Catholic couldn’t hold a 24-22 lead in the fourth set as the eighth seeded Lady Cavaliers lost to the fifth seeded Pirates for a second time this season — by a score of 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, 26-24.
Riverside will play Russia for a D-IV district title Saturday at Troy.
“Give Riverside credit,” Lehman coach Greg Snipes said. “They came up with a lot of big plays at the end.”
Which Riverside did.
The Pirates aggressive serving had given Lehman’s serve receive fits all night, but the Lady Cavaliers had rallied in the fourth set and with a it tied 20-20, Lehman players and bench began celebrating after Lauren McFarland’s apparently call.
But, the officials ruled the ball didn’t touch anything but the net.
Still, Lehman continued its surge.
Alexis Snipes had a kill, then served three straight points — including kills by Lauren McFarland and Olivia Lucia to take a 24-22 lead.
But, Riverside would score the next four points to end the match.
“The kids really did (show a lot of heart),” Lehman coach Greg Snipes said. “These kids have really worked hard to get better. At the beginning of the season, I am not sure the fourth set would have been close. But, these kids have come along way.”
In the first and third sets, Riverside’s aggressive serving took Lehman completely out of their offense, with the Cavaliers passes in serve receive moving Snipes all over the floor and leaving her with few options on her sets.
“That is one of the things we talked about,” Snipes said. “We had Olivia (Lucia) in the front row. But, Alexis (Snipes) had to go to the outsides. She really didn’t have any option and Riverside knew that and could set up their defense.”
After dropping the opening set, Lehman led throughout the second set.
An ace by Lucia gave the Cavaliers a 20-15 lead and Maddy McFarland had a kill at 23-18 on Hailey Wick’s serve before the Cavaliers finished it off at 24-21 when a Riverside serve was long.
But, the Pirates took the third set and Lehman couldn’t come up with the big points at the end of the fourth set.
Lucia led Lehman, who finished 12-13, with 10 kills.
Malorie Hussey had six kills, Maddy McFarland added five and Lauren McFarland and Ellie Scott had three each.
Snipes had 24 assists and Wick led the defense with 10 digs.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.