Jackets down ‘Cats, earn share of NLL title


PERRYSBURG — Sylvania Northview came into the Arena at Perrysburg Thursday set on winning an outright Northern Lakes League volleyball championship.

The Wildcats did not count on the return of senior outside hitter Sara Pahl and that the Yellow Jackets were playing their best volleyball when it counts most — at the end of the season.

As a result, Perrysburg defeated Northview in four sets, 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-17, and the Yellow Jackets and Wildcats will share the conference championship.

Perrysburg finishes the regular season 16-6 overall and 12-2 in the NLL, while the Wildcats are 17-4 and 12-2 with one non-league game remaining Saturday hosting state ranked Rocky River Magnificat.

Pahl, one of five seniors celebrated on Senior Night, says she is now playing at full strength after recovering from an injury.

In the win Thursday, Pahl had three aces and a team-high 19 kills, including six kills in each of the final two sets. In the final set, Perrysburg opened a 16-7 lead, leaving little doubt how the match would end.

“It feels so good,” Pahl said. “It took me a long time to get back, obviously, and most important mentally. I was just not confident, not myself, so it’s good to be back to my old self again.

‘Our team is so good, and we all love each other so much so it’s great to be playing well on the floor again,” continued Pahl, who will continue her volleyball career at Grand Valley State next year.

Perrysburg finishes the season winning seven of eight matches with its only loss coming to Magnificat last Saturday.

However, the Yellow Jackets lost five matches in September, including two in league action to Northview and Springfield.

“We had a rough start, but we’ve been working hard in practice every day and not giving up,” said senior libero Avery Adamski, who scored on three aces Thursday.

“We are just believing in each other, trusting in each other, and just having better relationships with each other and it really shows in our play today. I’m real proud of us.”

Adamski, the reigning Northern Lakes League Player of the Year, will play NCAA Division I volleyball at the University of Toledo.

A returning All-Ohioan, Adamski had already taken possession of the school’s career record for digs after her sophomore season, and the past two years has just been adding on.

However, Adamski says it is her teammates who are pushing the Jackets to their limits.

Perrysburg senior outside hitter Josie Hubbard had 10 kills and two blocks and junior middle blocker Wrigley Takats had eight kills and two aces in Thursday’s win.

Senior outside hitter Danielle Cleavenger had seven kills and two blocks and senior setter Giana Frayer, and freshman setter Katie Pahl had four kills apiece.

“We have a really great team with a lot of depth,” Adamski said. “A lot of people are on our team who can contribute to a varsity team.

“In practice, we go at it, make each other better, and we don’t quit on each other, and it shows. We don’t quit when we want to win.”

Plus, the Jackets are finding the right rotations. Perrysburg coach Laura Davidson says the coaching staff has it figured out.

“We tell them do your job, but obviously we’ve found some rotations that are clicking now,” Davidson said. “We had some injuries early on. I think things didn’t feel right, and we had to move some girls around.

“Some girls have really stepped up the last three weeks and Sara Pahl is back on the outside. So, I think our starting lineup has clicked, and we are peaking at the right time going into the tournament.”

Northview coach Chad Rutkowski blamed his team’s loss in part to 10 service errors.

“We just didn’t serve or pass — that is the tale of it,” Rutkowski said.

However, Rutkowski says his team still has the NLL title share to celebrate.

“Obviously, I’m proud. We had nothing to lose,” Rutkowski said. “We came in here with a championship and we’re leaving with a championship.

“At the end of the day, we want to win championships. It would have been great not to share it, but you know, hats off to Perrysburg for doing a nice job.

“For us, it’s back to the drawing board tomorrow and we play the No. 2 team (Magnificat) in the state on Saturday.”

One area the Wildcats did do well was protect the net with 20 blocks, including five apiece by junior setter Natalie Kerchevall, junior middle blocker Claire Smith, and freshman middle blocker Lucy Sauer.

Senior outside hitter Kamryn Hunt led the Wildcats with 15 kills and three blocks, senior outside hitter Sydney Hires had 11 kills, Kerchevall had 10 kills and Smith had four kills.

The Wildcats also had nine aces, including two apiece by Kerchevall and senior libero Jordyn Pakulski.

Perrysburg opens the Division I tournament at 6 p.m. Wednesday by hosting the winner of Findlay and Tiffin Columbian, which play Monday.

“Obviously, we just won an NLL championship right there, so the girls are excited, they are motivated, and they want to keep moving into the tournament,” Davidson said.

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