FAIRBORN — The Hartley High School girls volleyball team rallied from two sets down to force a fifth set in the Division II state final Nov. 10 at Wright State, but its hopes of winning its second championship came up just short.
The Hawks, who won the only state title in program history in 2011, lost to Parma Heights Holy Name 25-22, 25-16, 18-25, 16-25, 15-6 to finish 22-7.
“A lesser team would have folded after the second set and wouldn’t have taken it to a fifth set, so I’m really happy with that,” coach Mike Rahe said. “We didn’t execute really well the first two sets. … We’ve come back all year but weren’t able to get it done.”
Holy Name, which won its first state title and finished 26-3, trailed Hartley 22-20 in the first set but scored five consecutive points to close out the set.
During the first two sets, the Green Wave produced 30 kills while the Hawks had 14.
After Hartley built a 12-3 lead in the third set, Holy Name got within 17-15 before Chiamaka Nwokolo had four kills over the next seven points and Ashley Wagoner had a kill as Hartley won the set 25-18.
In the fourth set, the Hawks took a 20-15 lead on a kill by Alexa Wilson and then got a pair of serving aces from Aiva Smith to make it 22-15. Hartley closed out the set with a kill by Kayla Malone and a serving ace by Ashley Tipton, winning 25-16 to force a fifth set.
The Green Wave built an 11-5 lead in the final set. A kill by Malone got the Hawks to within five points before Holy Name scored the next four points to close out the set and the match.
“We were kind of back on our heels a little bit in that fifth set and I’m not sure why,” Rahe said.
Nwokolo and Malone, who were key players in 2016 when the Hawks also finished as state runners-up, finished with 19 and 14 kills, respectively.
Samantha Snow had 18 kills, Kayla Jarosz had 17 and Zelie Kessler added 13 for the Green Wave.
“I’m so proud of my team,” Nwokolo said. “I thought we gave everything we had in those last three sets.”