By CORY STEGER
ThisWeek Staff Writer

The Hartley High School volleyball team defeated Jonathan Alder 25-22, 25-16, 25-16 on Saturday in the Division II district championship match, giving the Hawks their fifth consecutive district title.

Hartley improves to 19-6 overall and advances to a regional semifinal Nov. 5 at Granville. Jonathan Alder finished the season 15-7.

"We didn't think this was going to be a game where we ever had a big lead, and they're an emotional team like DeSales," Hartley coach Max Miller said. "We tend to have a hard time with teams like that, and we had to counter that by being as sharp as we could be."

The first game was tied at 9 when Hartley won the next two points and eventually extended its lead to 20-11. Jonathan Alder started to come back, but the deficit proved to be too much and the Hawks held on for a 25-22 win.

Hartley carried that momentum over into the second game, where the Hawks had little trouble dispatching the Pioneers 25-16.

"I think reality started to set in for (Jonathan Alder) in the second game and they started to realize, 'Well what if we lose?'" Miller said. "With an emotional team like that, I think that benefited us the rest of the way out."

Though the score might indicate otherwise, the third game was the one that was most difficult for Hartley. Jonathan Alder continually held a 1-point lead up until the Pioneers led 15-13. The Hawks started to feed their outside hitters, Lauren Hughes and Shelby Sagle, and Hartley won the next 10 points for a 22-15 lead. By then it was too late for Jonathan Alder as the Hawks won the third game 25-16. In that third game, Hughes and Sagle combined for 14 kills.

"It's our fifth district title in a row and it feels really good," Hughes said. "In the third game we started to separate from them. We knew what we wanted, which was a district title, so we just went after it."