By Cort Reynolds
Ada Herald Writer
ADA - The Ada volleyball team won its annual Hardin County rivalry volleyball match against visiting Kenton in four sets Monday night, but not without a dogfight.The Lady Bulldogs ultimately had too much hitting power for the Wildcats and came away with a 25-20, 18-25, 25-21, 25-22 non-league victory.
"I thought we played pretty well," said first-year Bulldog coach Andrew Woodward. "We had good balance (four hitters between seven and 10 kills). We were able to get a little rest Sunday after a busy week and come back strong."
Playing their seventh match in eight days, the Lady Bulldogs improved to 9-7 with the win while Kenton fell to 3-11.
After Ada took game one, Kenton broke away from a close second set to even the match. With the game tied at 12, the visitors went on a 7-1 run to take control. Two big hits apiece by Kaily Whitaker and Brooke Bostelman spearheaded the flurry.
Ada closed within 22-17, yet a Whitaker hit and later ace put the game away.
In game three, the Bulldogs inched ahead 7-5 after an Alexis Amburgey kill and a Taylor Willeke ace. Megan Simon's winning serve made it 9-6, but Kenton tied it 11-11 on an error and multiple hits each from Bostelman and Whitaker.
Ada then spurted ahead with a 13-5 run. Two Rhodes kills and a big block kill by the junior middle helped the hosts gain set point at 24-16. Kenton then made it interesting with a 5-0 flurry as Bostelman served three winners and Whitaker converted a fine cross-court left-handed tip.
But then Bostelman served long to clinch the set for the Bulldogs, 25-21.
In the fourth and final set, Ada jumped ahead 3-1 and trailed only once. Rhodes painted the sideline with a hit, then hammered a clean kill to the back row to build the lead to 8-4.
Scrappy Kenton clawed within 10-9 before Willeke slammed a kill and two Wildcats made errors. The Bulldogs pulled ahead 14-11, yet the visitors came back with four straight points to grab their only lead 15-14 after three Bulldog errors.
Rhodes stopped the skid with a clean kill, followed by a power smash from Wyss, and Ada never trailed again. Amburgey's service winner and a sideline slam by Willeke, augmented by a huge block kill from Rhodes, put the 'Dogs in front 20-17.
Lindsay Walden hammered a big smash off a Wildcat out of bounds and a Kenton error made it 22-18. Still, an Ada miscue and a big hit by Whitaker pulled the Wildcats within 22-20. A Kenton serve sailed well wide, and then they won a long rally to stay alive at 23-21.
However, Walden came up with a clean kill to the outside form the middle to reach match point. Bostelman finessed a good hit to the short open spot to stave off defeat. But Rhodes ended the match with a clean smash to the outside corner from the middle to clinch the win.
Rhodes led the Bulldogs with 10 kills and three blocks. "It was one of her best matches, absolutely," agreed Woodward. Wyss contributed eight kills while Willeke amassed eight kills, seven digs and four aces. Walden added seven kills.
Morgan Rouch dished out 25 assists and made several fine surprise back tips, while Megan Simon made nine digs and dealt three aces. Gabby Linnon contributed seven digs and Amburgey added four aces.
Ada (1-3 NWC) gets right back to action Tuesday night when it visits Northwest Conference foe Bluffton in an attempt to stop a three-match league losing skid. They then host Lincolnview in another key league match Thursday.