By Cort Reynolds

Ada Herald writer

ADA - State-ranked volleyball power LCC came to Ada Thursday and left with a straight-set Northwest Conference win, but it wasn't quite as easy as the outcome might suggest.

Despite a game effort by the hosts, the fourth-ranked Thunderbirds held off the Lady Bulldogs by a 25-18, 25-14, 25-19 count to stay tied atop the league.

The loss dropped Ada to 6-6 overall and 1-3 in the NWC, while LCC improved to 11-2 and 4-0 in the NWC.

"We didn't play bad, but we need to come out with a little more energy," said first-year Ada head coach Andrew Woodward. "LCC is a good team but I feel like we can hang with them if we play our kind of volleyball."

Scrappy Ada took an early lead in game one when Alexis Rhodes executed a tip, then hit short to the open middle for a 6-5 edge. LCC then went on a 9-2 spurt to grab a solid lead.

Yet the Bulldogs rallied as Alexis Amburgey made a big block, Lindsay Walden slammed a kill and Taylor Willeke added another big hit. A Willeke ace brought the hosts within 14-13, and then the T-Birds ran off an 8-3 flurry.

A Walden block got Ada within 22-18, but LCC scored the last three points to win set one.

The T-Birds ran out to an 8-3 lead in game two, but a Tori Wyss kill stymieed the flood temporarily. Featuring a balanced attack, LCC then scored nine unanswered points to take control, 17-4.

Willeke stopped the run with a two-handed tip and Rhodes smacked a kill. A Willeke ace and Walden kill were the main Bulldog highlights down the stretch as LCC pulled away for a 25-14 win.

Ada competed better in game three. A Willeke tip, Walden block and a Morgan Rouch kill put the 'Dogs in front 5-3.

Rhodes then mustered a block and a kill before LCC inched ahead 13-9. An Amburgey tip cut the deficit to 14-10 yet the visitors stretched the lead to 19-13. Ada kept fighting and got within 22-17 after a Walden kill.

The teams traded serving errors before Wyss came up with a kill. However, a T-Bird block went out of play off Ada, and the Bulldogs hit long on match point to fall 25-19.

Walden led Ada with six kills and four blocks. Willeke contributed five kills and a pair of aces. Rhodes made five big blocks and Rouch doled out 25 assists. Megan Simon came up with 20 digs and Wyss added nine digs.

Ada's busy week of six matches in six days concludes when they play in the eight-team Cory-Rawson Invitational Saturday.

The Bulldogs have a chance for some revenge as they play Delphos Jefferson first, and then possibly the host Hornets if they win, two teams that beat Ada in close matches early this season.

"We will have to be ready to play," said Woodward.