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UL outlasts Ridgewood in 5-set thriller

Union Local's Torre Kildow (11) goes up for a block Saturday against Ridgewood in Division III sectional volleyball action. The Jets won in five sets.

MORRISTOWN – Tournament time is all about surviving and advancing. Union Local did enough Saturday to play another day.

The fourth-seeded Jets (16-8) outlasted No. 7 Ridgewood (14-10) in five exciting sets to claim the the Division III, Region 11 sectional volleyball championship inside ‘The Hangar’ by scores of 26-24, 16-25, 30-28, 19-25 and 17-15.

With the victory, Union Local moves on to the district semifinals on Wednesday where it will meet top-seeded Tuscarawas Valley at 6 p.m. at a site to be determined by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

“I’m so proud of my girls with homecoming and everything going on. Some teams wouldn’t be mentally prepared, but we were,” Union Local head coach Kaye Sechrest said. “They played unbelievable.”

The back-and-forth match was deadlocked 36 times, the last at 15-all in the fifth, and deciding, set.

“Playing the tougher schedule has made us better in the long run,” senior Keira Gregor explained. “It has prepared us for matches like this when we have to go five sets. I felt we were in shape and moved very well. Obviously, it showed and we came out on top.”

Gregor’s return was blocked out of bounds by a Generals player to make it 16-15 and the Jets scored again to set off a wild celebration on the court.

“We upgraded our schedule this season for games just like this,” Sechrest continued. “So far it has worked out.”

The five-setter was the first time UL had to go the distance this season.

“The girls played well. It was a good match. Ridgewood is a good team, I knew they were going to hang around,” Sechrest said. “I feel sorry for their kids and their coaches because they played well, too.”

The first set was knotted at 24 before the hosts used a Torre Kildow kill for a 25-24 lead. Her next kill was blocked, but the ball went of out play to secure the win.

In the second set, Ridgewood led from the start in evening the match.

The third set was deadlocked 13 times before the hosts were able to grab the 30-28 triumph, while the Generals won the fourth set, 25-19, and set up the winner-take-all fifth set.

Tied at 7, Union Local tallied four of the next five points for a 11-8 advantage. The set was knotted at 13, 14 and 15 before the Jets finally prevailed.

Kildow led the Jets in kills, but was supported by Olivia Wortman and Kelly Gress. Emma Kellaway played well in the back row, as did Julie Broussard.

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