Bridgeport ousts River

• Bulldogs advance in D-IV

WOLFHURST — Volleyball matches like this were made for the postseason.

Postseason moments like this were made for senior leaders.

Wednesday night, Bridgeport had plenty of them.

Kamden Dulesky, Shelby Matheny, Lauren Neer and Danielle Hollingshead all highlighted the stat sheet for the Bulldogs as they made their final appearance on Frank Baxter Court an impressive one.

The foursome helped lead Bridgeport to a thrilling 25-17, 16-25, 23-25, 25-19, 17-15 victory against River in an Ohio Division IV sectional volleyball contest.

”It was a team effort,” a smiling Bridgeport head coach Ron Kelly said following the nearly two-hour marathon inside the John J. Havlicek Gymnasium. ”Everyone contributed.”

Especially in the fifth, and deciding, set.

There, Bridgeport rallied from deficits of 3-0, 9-4 and 12-8 to punch their ticket for Noble County where they will face the East District’s top seed, Shenandoah, for a sectional crown at 4 p.m. Saturday.

”In volleyball, momentum can make or break you one way or another,” Kelly said. ”It can work for you or against you. In this instance, it ended up being on our side.”

There were a plethora of momentum shifts in the match, but the Bulldogs happened to be on the end of the final one.

The Pilots held the lead for most of the fifth set, but Bridgeport stayed close, finally tying things at 12-12 on Hollingshead’s ace.

The match swayed back and forth from there, with the teams tying twice, the final time at 15-15.

Dulesky recorded a point giving Bridgeport a 16-15 advantage. The Bulldogs secured the victory when a River return shot went long.

”It was a good match,” Pilots had coach Judi Curtis said. ”We fought hard. I’m proud of them.

”We have a very young team. We had mostly sophomores and, I think two or four juniors on the floor. I told them that next year will be our year. I can feel it.

”We had a 7-12 season but we had so many matches that went four or five sets.”

The teams split the first two sets before Bridgeport jumped out to a 11-4 lead in the third. Following a River timeout, the Bulldogs tacked on two more points before the Pilots rallied.

River scored 12 of the next 14 points to draw even at 16-16. There were four more ties from there, with the Pilots prevailing 25-23.

The tables turned in Set 4, with River jumping out to a big lead and Bridgeport rallying. Even though the Bulldogs didn’t come from as far down, they still erased a four-point deficit to forge a 16-16 deadlock then scored nine of the final 12 points to force the deciding fifth set.

”Execution was a big key,” Kelly said. ”We were able to get hot at the right time and get the ball in the right places.”

Allison Bennett had 16 points, 43 assists, six aces and six kills for River, while Katie Straub had 15. Macey Ladyga added six points and seven kills, while Lauren Flannery collected 15 kills and Cortney Sapp had 11 kills.

Matheny recorded 12 points, 19 digs and 10 kills for the Bulldogs, while Dulesky had 20 digs and 19 kills. Neer had 15 points and 31 assists, while Hollingshead had 14 points and eight digs. Jaren Tucker had 21 digs; Maura Tiber had 10 digs; Taylor Newkirk had five digs; Briana Conaway had 10 digs; and Danielle Bradac turned in 10 points and eight digs.

Monroe Central Advances

AT WOODSFIELD, Elaina Swallow scored 15 points and dished out 31assists to help Monroe Central advance in Division IV, 25-8, 25-9, 23-25, 5-23, against Caldwell.

The Seminoles (15-7) host Steubenville Catholic at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Shyla Schuster added 14 points and 11 digs for Monroe Central, while Sydney Yoho had 13 points and 17 digs. McKinzey Dierkes had 10 kills, eight digs and five assists; Haven Dick had 13 kills; and Marlee Miller had 10 kills.