MONROEVILLE— The Lady Jets were contested at every turn on Thursday night but a pair of three set thrillers at Heritage ended with Adams Central completing the sweep of the ACAC tournament title.
AC, the regular season ACAC champions, entered the semi-finals on the strength of a dominant performance against Woodlan on Tuesday, then defeated Leo 25-21, 23-25, 25-19 to set up a finals confrontation with the host school Patriots.
Despite dropping the first set to an emotionally-charged Heritage squad, the Jets rallied to win the next two and the title 26-24, 13-25, 19-25.
"It was back and forth volleyball the whole game," noted AC coach Ashley Beard. "It was exciting and thankfully we came out on top."
In the semi-final to open the night against the Lions, Leo leapt to a 4-1 lead. The Lady Jets were then called for being out of rotation to trail 4-8 before a 4-0 burst tied the first set at 8-8 on an Abby Snyder kill.
After going back and forth between points, Leo held their last lead of the set at 15-14. Jenni Baumer's tip-kill tied the match and the Jets would tack on three more to lead 18-15. After a Lions' timeout, points were traded until Central pushed a 3-0 run to make it 24-17 capped off by a double block by Baumer and Madi Schwartz and a kill by Whitney Peterson.
The Lions would score the next four points to keep things interesting but Peterson's smash down the line gave the Jets the one-set lead.
Set two played out similarly for the Jets with ties at 8-8 and 9-9 before AC landed a 14-9 lead on a 5-0 run. The Lions would battle back with five of the next six points ending with an ace from Leo's Maddi MacDonald to trail 15-14. The Jets held a lead of one or two until 22-22 when the Lions would score three of the final four points to take the second set.
Abbey Lichtle would break a 6-6 tie with a tip kill and a smash in the middle as part of a 5-0 Central run. The lead ballooned to 16-9 and the Lady Jets held firm through a 5-2 run eventually taking the third set on three straight points from a kill and two aces from Haley Gross.
"We knew who their good hitters were so we tried to throw up a double block," explained Beard of the Leo defensive. "They caused us fits on the right and left side last time so we knew that would be key to stop Leo tonight."
Against the Lions, Baumer and Peterson each had 11 kills, while Gross had eight with three aces. There were eight solo blocks in the contest for the Jets featuring two each from Schwartz (35 assists), Snyder (seven kills, 11 digs), Baumer (two aces) and Gross. Lichtle had four kills with 14 digs, a team-high.
In the championship round, the host Patriots were lying in wait for the Jets after a two-set win over Garrett in the other semi-final.
A quick start with a few kills from Peterson and one from Lichtle led to a 5-2 Jets advantage. The Jets held an 11-7 lead in set one but spotted the Patriots five of their seven points from missed serves. The miscues would continue for AC eventually leading to a 12-12 tie on a 5-1 run.