By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald Writer

ADA - The Ada volleyball team rebounded from a sluggish start to down scrappy Delphos Jefferson over four sets Tuesday night in a Northwest Conference home match, 27-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-23.

Their third straight win upped the Lady Bulldog record to 9-3 overall and 2-1 in NWC play, while DJ fell to 4-7 and 1-2.

"Overall I am pleased with how the girls stayed with it and remained positive," said first-year Ada coach Joanna Snyder. "The girls kept working hard and made the hustle plays."

It looked like DJ might force a fifth and decisive set when they rallied to grab a 23-21 lead late in set four. Ada junior Lindsay Walden came up with a big kill that skimmed the net, but the officials originally ruled the point for the Wildcats.

After a short conference they reversed the call for Ada, making it 23-22 instead of game point. DJ then hit long after a rally to tie it, and seemed to lose their poise a bit.

Sophomore Carlee Marshall then smacked a clean kill to the open corner to advance Ada to match point. The lanky Marshall then clinched it with another kill when her hit ricocheted off a Wildcat and the back wall on the fly.

Marshall knocked down a career-high 19 kills and added four blocks to pace the balanced Bulldog attack. "I was really impressed with how she played, Carlee did a really good job," noted Snyder.

The Bulldogs had played at Hardin Northern the night before and seemed a bit tired at the outset. Upset-minded DJ pulled ahead 18-13 before Ada turned up its intensity.

Tori Wyss hit a cross court kill and four Wildcat errors inched Ada within 20-19. A one-handed punch to the open corner by Wyss, a DJ error and a Rachel Wildman putaway tip put the hosts in front, 22-21.

Big hits by Walden and Alexis Amburgey advanced the Bulldogs to a pair of set points, but spunky DJ tied it each time. Yet an error by the visitors and a kill by Wyss that was tipped out of bounds gave Ada the first set, 27-25.

"We got behind early so I called timeout and told the girls they had to be more aggressive hitting," recalled Snyder. "That was the biggest change in the game."

The Bulldogs rode the momentum into game two as they ran out to a 9-6 lead. DJ rallied to tie it briefly but Ada pulled ahead on two hits by Walden and one apiece from Amburgey and Wildman.

An Amburgey block, a block kill by Marshall and two Wyss winners made it 21-17. Jefferson closed within 22-20 after two aces by Lindsay Deuel. Yet three DJ errors closed the set in favor of Ada.

Game three was close early, but the feisty Wildcats edged in front 9-7. They extended the margin to 15-9 and later were up 20-14 after winning a long rally.

Two big smashes by Walden cut it to 21-17, followed by an Ada error. Wyss hit a fine lunging winner off a ceiling ricochet and Walden fired an ace to bring the hosts within 22-19, prompting a Delphos timeout.

A clean kill by Marshall capped a long rally to make it 22-20, but then DJ ran off the last three points to win set three.

The Bulldogs fell behind 8-3 in the fourth game, but reeled off eight straight points behind the serving of lone senior Hannah Price to take an 11-8 lead. The lead then see-sawed back and forth until Ada got the last run in to pull off a late rally, 25-23.

"I thought our girls did a great job handling the pressure in games one and four," said Snyder. "They did a good job in the clutch and of persevering. They focused on the here and now."

Wyss knocked down eight kills and made 22 digs while scoring 13 points. "Tori is such a hustle player," Snyder noted. Walden contributed a dozen kills, four digs, two blocks and served 13 points.

Amburgey amassed eight kills, five digs and three blocks. Sutton passed out 39 assists and came up with seven digs. Megan Simon hustled up 15 digs from her libero spot. Wildman added six kills and a pair of digs. Price scored 10 points and made five digs.

The Bulldog reserves rallied to beat DJ 2-1 to also improve to 9-3.

Ada hosts traditional backyard rival Allen East (7-5, 3-0 NWC) Thursday on Volley for the Cure night, where both teams will wear pink t-shirts to promote breast cancer research. AE edged Spencerville in five sets Tuesday night.

"Everyone is excited for the special game, I am looking forward to the match," said Snyder. "It should be a big crowd and a great atmosphere. I know they have a couple big hitters."

Snyder did her student teaching at AE, and Ada JV coach Kayla Crow was a recent standout for the Mustangs. Ada is 4-2 at home this season.