The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

Crestview forces NWC tri-championship

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent editor

CONVOY — It came down to a young but talented team against the two-time defending Northwest Conference champions in the NWC finale at Ray Etzler Gymnasium on Tuesday.

Crestview, with a number of freshmen and sophomores on the roster swept No. 18 Lincolnview in straight sets, 25-23, 25-11, 25-20, to give the Lady Knights a share of the 2021 NWC championship with the Lancers and Leipsic.

Crestview’s Myia Etzler (5) goes high to the net and tries to thread the ball between Lincolnview defenders. Bob Barnes/Van Wert independent

It’s the first NWC volleyball championship for Crestview (16-6, 7-1 NWC) since 2018.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” an elated Crestview head coach Tammy Gregory said. “The girls wanted it so bad and I think it showed that we knew coming in it was going to be a battle. Lincolnview is dominate in everything that they do and it’s such a rivalry, but I thought our girls came to play.”

“I was worried because we have a lot of freshmen on the court and playing in this type of environment that they’re not used to, but they didn’t show they were freshmen tonight,” Gregory added. “It was a whole team effort tonight and I can’t say enough about that.”

“It’s nice to clinch a title share in the NWC,” Lincolnview head coach JaNahn Evans said. “Crestview played well and congratulations to them.”

Crestview stormed out to a 10-3 lead in the first set but Lincolnview (15-5, 7-1 NWC) fought back to forge four ties, including 18-18. However, sophomore Myia Etzler served up six straight points to give the Lady Knights a 24-18 lead, before Lincolnview rattled off five straight points to make things interesting.

“She’s been coming on toward the end of the season, just dominate and wanting the ball in her hands and that’s what we need from her,” Gregory said of Etzler. “She’s playing with a lot of confidence and she and Cali (Gregory) connect really well.”

Lincolnview’s Kendall Bollenbacher (15) attempts to hammer the ball by the outstretched arms of Crestview’s Adelyn Figley (12). Bob Barnes photo

The Lady Knights were in control throughout the second set, darting out to an 11-3 lead before extending it to 22-8. Etzler and Laci McCoy each had four kills and went on to finish with 13 and 10 kills respectively.

“It just felt like we made way too many errors passing the ball, hitting errors, just uncharacteristic errors tonight and Crestview took advantage of the opportunity,” Evans said.

The third set was much closer, with Kendall Bollenbacher giving the Lancers an early 6-4 lead. Crestview forged ahead but Bollenbacher and Emma Bowersock helped keep Lincolnview it, eventually whittling the deficit to 22-19 before the Lady Knights scored three of the final four points.

“Passing was key and we worked real hard on defense,” Gregory said. “We have the most height that we’ve ever had but defense wins games and that’s what won tonight.”

Cali Gregory finished with 26 assists and was 19-of-20 from the service line with four aces, plus three blocks. Etzler and Brynn Putman each had a pair of aces and Ellie Kline finished with nine digs.

Bollenbacher led Lincolnview with 13 kills and 13 digs, while Breck Evans and Ashlyn Price had 18 and 11 assists. Kendall Klausing recorded six kills.

Lincolnview will play at Miller City in the regular season finale on Saturday. Crestview is off until the October 21 Division IV sectional finals against Fort Recovery or Delphos St. John’s.

POSTED: 10/13/21 at 3:56 am. FILED UNDER: Sports