By Rob Kiser
Piqua Daily Call
COVINGTON — It was the excitement of a young team breaking through on one side.
And the end of an outstanding season for a senior-laden group on the other side on the opposite end of a spectrum.
Ninth seed Fairlawn, 13-12, stunned two-seed Lehman Catholic, 20-5, in a D-IV district semifinal at Covington High School on Tuesday night — outlasting the Cavaliers 22-25, 26-24, 19-25, 25-22, 15-6.
Fairlawn advances to play Miami Valley Christian Academy in a D-IV district final at Troy Saturday at a time to be announced.
“I am so proud of the these girls,” Fairlawn coach Ashley Miller said. “We came in with a game plan and they executed it. We have a bunch of sophomores out there. It was all heart.”
And a heartbreaking and stunning end to and outstanding season for Lehman.
“We had a great season,” Lehman coach Carolyn Dammeyer said. “We really did. It was just not our night. We were just out of sync all night.”
And despite all that, the Cavaliers had what seemed like a comfortable lead — up two sets to one and leading 19-13 in the fourth set, before everything went wrong.
“It seemed like if we get something working, something else would go wrong,” Dammeyer said. “It was that way all night.”
Fairlawn rode the momentum to victory, scoring 27 of the final 36 points in the match.
“We just kept battling,” Miller said.
At 19-13 in the fourth set, Lehman was called for an illegal hit on three of the next four points — along with a kill attempt going long.
Just like that, Fairlawn was within 19-17.
Reese Geise had a kill for Lehman, but Lonnie Heath had a kill on Jessie Abke’s serve to get the Jets within 20-19.
After Fairlawn hit the ball in the net, Heath answered with another kill and Kenedee Gallimore served two points to put Fairlawn in front 22-21.
Fairlawn broke a 22-22 deadlock with a block and Catherine Cardo served the final two points — on Lehman hitting errors — to make it 25-22 and force a race to 15 to decide it.
Geise started the fifth set with a kill and the Cavaliers still led 3-2 before things suddenly turned.
Fairlawn ran off nine straight points — with Lehman using both of its timeouts — to take an 11-3 lead.
After a kill by Abke to tie it 3-3, she stepped back to the service line and served eight straight points.
Kylee Ginter had a block in the run and Heath had two kills.
“Those two (Lonnie Heath, Jessie Abke) came to play tonight,” Miller said.
Lehman scored two points on a Fairlawn hitting error and a Jet rotation error, but Abke had a kill to make it 12-5.
Gallimore had an ace and Abke had a kill to make it 14-5.
Abby Schutt had a spike to keep Lehman alive, but a serve into the net ended it.
“You have to give Fairlawn credit,” Dammeyer said. “They played a great defense all night and they brought the ball at us.”
Which in the end, led to a spectrum of emotions on the floor at Covington High School.
Contact Piqua Daily Call Sports Editor Rob Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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