Crestwood volleyball coach Brittany Mayle believes that her squad was on “a mission to make school history” in Thursday night’s Division II regional semifinal match against Northwest at Stow-Munroe Falls High School.
With a 3-1 victory, Mayle, in her first year at Crestwood, and the Red Devils accomplished the mission by advancing to a regional title game for the first time in the program’s history.
“Nobody’s ever been this far from Crestwood,” Mayle said. “They had heart and determination, even when they were down they fought back.”
The match opened with an intense 33-31 set in favor of the Indians (18-8) before the Red Devils rebounded for 25-19, 25-20 and 25-23 wins.
The Red Devils (24-3) opened by scoring the first four points and forcing a Northwest timeout. Crestwood’s lead eventually grew to 6-1, but the Indians adjusted after the timeout and went ahead 13-10.
The Indians eventually had their first set point opportunity at 24-23, but the teams went on to trade points 17 times before the Indians finally took the first set.
“We just couldn’t get two in a row but we battled back and forth,” Mayle said. “I was worried that first set was going to determine the match but thankfully it didn’t.”
Northwest coach John Rafailedes said his girls weren’t affected by fatigue following such a long set, but they weren’t able to get back to where they were in the first set.
Crestwood again jumped to an early lead in the second set, something that became a theme for them in the match, taking a 7-3 lead.
“[Crestwood] is used to close games if you look at their record throughout the year,” Rafailedes said. “We just came out flat every set. We were down early in every set except for the fourth.”
The Red Devils were able to capitalize on the momentum of their good start and won the second set.
The third set was another back-and-forth battle and was tied 17-17.
The teams traded points six times until Red Devils junior Hayley Zigman took the serve. She scored five consecutive service points, helping her own cause with two kills and a key dig, leading the Red Devils to a five-point victory.
“Hayley Zigman is the definition of a competitor,” Mayle said. “She brings energy to our team, she’s a gamer. She lives for this volleyball team and is our leader on the floor.”
Zigman led the Red Devils with 13 blocks and 11 kills. She also had 10 service points, including 2 aces, and four digs. Zigman again came up big with a key block to end the fourth set 25-23 and clinch the match.
Taylor Atkins led the Red Devils in kills with 11 and Morgan Strenk had a good all-around game with 10 kills, 7 blocks and 6 digs.
Celsie Channell led the Indians with 18 kills and Hayley Macko had 9 service points with 2 aces.
Crestwood moves on to face Cleveland Heights Beaumont in the regional final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Stow.