Mineral Ridge repels the Tigers | News, Sports, Jobs

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COLUMBIANA – On the night of a double header at Columbiana High School Wednesday, the Mineral Ridge Rams advanced to the Division IV district final with a straight-set victory over Newton Falls 27-25, 22-25, 25-20, 17 -25, 15-12.

“I am proud of our children” Mineral Ridge coach Ron Lesko said. “They kept moving forward. They did their best and luckily we came out on top.

The Rams won the opening set though Newton Falls senior Alexandria Drake made it difficult with a kill and a serve ace.

Senior Olivia Valot is the perfect passer for the Tigers. His senior comrade Cadence Stewart served Newton Falls to a victory in the second.

Aliyah Whittaker smashed a spade and served as an ace as the Rams took the upper hand in the third.

“When we were ashore, we always got together and played as a team” said Whittaker. “I kept reminding my teammates to stay positive. It ended up working. Olivia Booth came in and really put us back in the game. We must always keep this positive mindset. We cannot give up.

Neither team did. Hannah Loeb had a block and a kill to close the third for Ridge.

Freshman Lilly Sait blocked one for the Tigers and Stewart’s one-handed punch helped Newton Falls force a decisive fifth set.

Natalee Albert dove to the ground to dig it up as Newton Falls built a 5-1 advantage in the final quarter. Then Booth took over behind the line. His three aces, including one that flipped over the net, helped the Rams take a 12-5 lead.

The Tigers came back and came one point closer at 13-12. However, a big kill from Ava Hulett and Lilly Merolillo points of service closed him for Mineral Ridge.

“Our daughters have done so well” said Merolillo. “We played hard. Everything worked. It was so amazing.

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