By: Nate Calvin
DEFIANCE – In the district semifinal on Tuesday, Hilltop was able to avenge one of their two losses during the regular season by beating Edgerton.
The Cadets had a chance to do the same thing in the district final against Hicksville, but the Aces front line was too much to handle as they beat Hilltop in straight sets for their first district title on Thursday night.
The back-and-forth first set started with the Aces grabbing the early momentum by taking an 11-7 lead.
Hilltop would then put together their first scoring run of the night, a 5-1 surge, that was capped off by a Libbie Baker kill to tie things up at 12.
Things remained tight in the opening set before Hilltop got a bit of breathing room with a 3-1 spurt to take a 22-19 lead on a kill by freshman Brynn Rodriguez.
On the play, Rodriguez was injured when she landed awkwardly on her leg and had to leave the match.
Following the injury timeout and then a timeout by the Aces, the momentum shifted back to Hicksville as they ended the set with a 6-0 run spearheaded by kills from Molly Crall and Lynae Poling.
The second set started with Hicksville continuing to attack as two kills by Crall and back-to-back kills from Poling gave the Aces a 7-3 lead.
Hilltop would regain their footing with a 6-2 run to tie the score at 9-9 before Hicksville responded with a 10-5 surge ending with another kill from Crall to grab a 19-14 lead.
The Hicksville lead would grow to 22-17 forcing Hilltop to take a timeout which was followed by two more kills from Poling for Hicksville and a Hilltop error gave Hicksville the set 25-18 to take a 2-0 lead.
The final set started with three consecutive points by Crall and then a 4-0 Hilltop run to take a 4-3 lead.
Hicksville answered though to take the lead for good as Poling tallied two more kills during an 8-3 run to go in front 11-7.
Hicksville stretched the lead to 18-12 and then the Aces would move to within one point of the regionals after a 6-2 spurt pushed the lead to 24-14.
Hilltop fought off five straight match points aided by four errors by Hicksville to trim the Aces’ lead to 24-19.
After a Hicksville timeout, Poling finished things off with her 14th kill of the night to send Hicksville to their first-ever regional.
Crall topped Hicksville with 25 kills on the night and Aubrie Baird registered 41 assists.
Jayma Bailey fronted the Hilltop effort with 14 digs, Gabby Rodriguez added 12 digs, nine kills, and Joseclyn Layman totaled 19 assists.
Hicksville d. Hilltop 25-22, 25-18, 25-19
Hilltop (22-3) – Jayma Bailey: 26/28 serve receive, 14 digs, 11/14 hitting, 3 kills; Joscelyn Layman: 15/16 serving, 3 aces, 19 assists; Gabby Rodriguez: 12/12 serve receive, 12 digs, 33/35 hitting, 9 kills; Libbie Baker: 23/23 attacking, 7 kills, 4 blocks
Hicksville (21-4) – Molly Crall: 25 kills, 4 assists, 11 digs; Aubrie Baird: 41 assists, 3 aces, 12 digs, 2 blocks; Lynae Poling: 14 kills, 4 digs; Martina Vazquez: 11 digs; Delaney Johnson: 10 digs
Nate can be reached at email@example.com