Experience helped propel the Hartley High School girls volleyball team to a 25-18, 25-20, 25-23 win over Uhrichsville Claymont in a Division II regional semifinal Tuesday at Newark.

The Hawks improved to 21-5 and advanced to a regional final for the third consecutive year. They will play Big Walnut, which defeated Warsaw River View in three games, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Newark. Claymont finished 16-5.

"We came in with a lot of emotion," Hawks coach Max Miller said. "We have a lot of young kids, but we also have a lot of veterans and the veterans allowed us to be a little more stable than Claymont was. Claymont won their first district title ever and this was their first (regional) appearance and this was our fourth in a row. We had that going for us. I think that made a difference."

Leading the way for the Hawks were middle hitter Jillian Brown, setter Lindsay Gaughan and libero Abby Weisenberger.

"I thought we took control in the first set," Miller said. "But I thought they battled back well and held their own in the second set. Set three really got away from us. We lost 12 of 15 points at one stretch in that set, but
fortunately found a way to win. I think it had a lot to do with the kids, with their attitude and work ethic."

Hartley, which was eighth in the final state poll, reached the state final last season before losing to Toledo Central Catholic 25-19, 26-24, 25-17. In 2006, the Hawks lost to Big Walnut 25-22, 18-25, 26-24, 25-19 in a regional
final.

"Before this three-year run, we had made it (to a regional final) only once in school history," Miller said. "I think it's a tribute to the kids and their parents as far as what they've had to put up with, what we've asked them as a coaching staff to put up with. Hats off to the parents and the players."

Hartley defeated Big Walnut 25-19, 25-21, 27-25 on Sept. 2 but has not played River View.