Perrysburg celebrates defeating Anthony Wayne 3 sets to 1 during a Northern Lakes League volleyball game Tuesday in Whitehouse. THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH
Perrysburg sophomore Lizzie Kemp felt the momentum shift and the energy build when she served four consecutive aces late in a key Northern Lakes League volleyball showdown at Anthony Wayne on Tuesday.
Kemp's perfect serving helped the Yellow Jackets exact revenge on the Generals in dramatic fashion.
Perrysburg (16-5 overall) improved to 12-1 in the NLL and avenged its only loss in league play with a three sets to one win. The showdown appeared destined to go to a fifth set just as a match between the schools had played out earlier this season.
IN PICTURES: Perrysburg vs. Anthony Wayne volleyball
The Yellow Jackets won the first set 25-12 and the second set 25-21. But Anthony Wayne responded by winning the third set 25-21.
In the fourth set, Anthony Wayne was just three points away sending the match to a decisive fifth set. But Perrysburg rallied with an 11-0 run. Kemp served four straight aces during the spurt to give the Yellow Jackets a 24-21 lead.
“It just builds,” Kemp said. “It's crazy. The energy just keeps building and you just run off that. I knew if I did my part, my team would carry out their part. I just tried to keep it [in play] and stay confident.”
Fellow sophomore Kathryn Mandly then finished it with a final kill and a 25-23 Perrysburg win.
“It feels amazing,” said Mandly, who finished with 11 kills. “I've never wanted to win a game so badly as I wanted to win this one.”
The Generals held leads of 13-6 and then 21-13 in the third set and looked like they would force a winner-take-all fifth set.
However, the Yellow Jackets reeled off 11 unanswered points to cap a remarkable rally from an eight-point deficit.
“As soon as Lizzie started getting a few serves in a row, I knew that was it,” Mandly said. “She kept going and everyone kept up with her serve.”
Kemp finished with a game-high 10 aces. Senior Morgan Bunde paced a balanced Perrysburg attack with 13 kills.
Perrysburg coach Laura Davidson said her team plays its best with its back against the wall.
“They run with it. They come together. They look at each other and say 'Let's go,” Davidson said.
Davidson called Kemp “a gamer.”
“Nothing fazes her. She has one goal only. She's a great server. She knows what she needs to do,” Davidson said. “It was a momentum shift and she just went with it.”
AW (16-3, 11-2) had defeated Perrysburg 3-2 on the road on Sept. 14. The Generals were led by senior Jillian Grant's 18 kills.
AW coach Norm McGhee said he called a timeout late in the fourth set and warned his team against giving up runs.
“That wasn't like us at all,” McGhee said. “I knew if we won the fourth set, we could have won the fifth set. But they were serving us out of system. We couldn't get our balls to our [middle hitters]. Their serving game beat us. It was aggressive. We just wanted that last gasp.”
Davidson said her team is effective because it spreads its attacking positions.
“We can set the middle, the right, and the left side,” she said. “The blockers on the other side don't know where it's going.”
Perrysburg jumped out to an 20-11 lead in the first set and cruised. The Yellow Jackets trailed only once in the second set, 2-1, before back-to-back aces from Kemp gave them a 8-4 lead.
Anthony Wayne charged out to a 6-0 to start the third set before building an 18-13 lead with a 5-0 run. Perrysburg rallied to tie it at 21 but a kill from Grant helped the Generals wrapped it up with a 4-0 spurt.
The Generals put together a 8-1 to take the early lead in the fourth and then a 4-0 charge put them up 21-13. But Hanna Dettinger's kill sparked the Perrysburg comeback. Mandly also had a key block that pulled the Jackets within one at 21-20. Kemp then reeled off four straight aces.
“We were ready for this game,” Kemp said.
The Generals, the defending NLL champs close the league slate at Southview on Thursday. Perrysburg can win the school's first NLL title since 2014 outright with a win at Northview on Thursday.
“This is something they've had their eye on all season – winning the NLL. So it's all coming down to this week and I know they want it,” Davidson.