Volleyball Advances to 1st District Title Since 2005
Louisville 25-21-25-26, Canfield 15-25-17-24
The 4th Seeded Louisville Leopards Volleyball team scored 12 of the final 13 points in the fourth set to
stun the 2nd Seeded Canfield Cardinals Tuesday Evening at Lake High School. Louisville won the DI Uniontown District Semifinal 25-15, 21-25, 25-17, 26-24 to advance to their first District Championship since 2005. With the win, the Lady Leopards are now 21-3 on the season.
Paige Haren led Louisville with 5 blocks, 44 assists, and 16 points & 1 ace serving. Kayla Cole also had a team-high 17 kills and Grace Jackson finished with a team-high 17 digs.
Louisville dominated the first set 25-15, fell behind and dropped the second set 21-25, and then regrouped with a 25-17 win in the the third set. However, the Leopards found themselves behind 21-11 in the fourth set before Head Coach Jodie Cress called timeout.
Out of the timeout, Louisville dug into the Canfield advantage by winning 3 of the next 4 points. The Cardinals answered back with a kill that landed in no-man’s land between two Leopards defenders. With that, Louisville faced a seemingly insurmountable 23-14 deficit.
However, the Leopards flipped the switch on, focused, and dominated one point at a time. Brynn Guist threw down a kill to start the Louisville run. Two volleys later, Sarah Lairson’s diving dig saved the Leopards from giving up a devastating 24th point to Canfield. Kills by Guist, Lairson, and Cole got Louisville within 23-20 after that. Then, Cole’s ensuing serve was not returned and Canfield called timeout as the deficit had shrunk to two.
It did not matter as the Leopards momentum never ceased. Lairson and Cole recorded kills to tie the game at 23-23 and then Canfield pushed the ball out of bounds putting Louisville in the lead. That point capped off a 10-0 Leopards run.
On the next point, the referees called a double hit on Louisville, allowing Canfield to tie the game at 24-24. That only seemed to ignite the Leopards even more as Guist sent a rocket across the net and off the jaw of an opposing player before it hit the floor making it 25-24 Louisville. The comeback was officially completed on the next play when Georgia Kiko slammed the ball into the open floor sending the Lady Leopards into celebration.
This is the first time Louisville has advanced to the District Final since entering Division I in 2007. The Leopards fell in the District Semifinals in 4 of the past 5 seasons prior to this year. The Leopards are 4-1 in District Championship games all-time (known history) which include the following:
- 2005 DII CANTON DISTRICT: Louisville 14-24-25-25-15, Minerva 25-26-13-12-12
- 2001 DII CANTON DISTRICT: Louisville 15-6-17, Minerva 8-15-15*
- 2000 DII CANTON DISTRICT: Louisville 15-15, Orrville 12-12*
- 1998 DII CANTON DISTRICT: Northwest 10-15-15, Louisville 15-3-9*
- 1987 AAA SALEM DISTRICT: Louisville 15-15, Canton South 7-13*
*Rally scoring was not implemented until 2004.
Louisville will face top seeded Jackson in the District Championship Thursday at 7:00 PM at Lake High School. The Leopards have dropped their last 6 matches against the Polar Bears (0-4 at Jackson Invitation, 0-2 in District Semifinals) and haven’t defeated Jackson since a 25-20, 25-18 victory against the host school in the Jackson Invitational back in 2005. That year was the last time Louisville appeared in and won a District Title as well.
UP NEXT: The Leopards will next challenge the top seeded Jackson Polar Bears in the DI Uniontown District Championship on Thursday, October 29 at 7:00 PM at Lake High School.
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