The Lady Lancers celebrate after winning the NWC title with a victory over Ada on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Wyatt Richardson)
The Lady Lancers celebrate after winning the NWC title with a victory over Ada on Tuesday. (DHI Media/Wyatt Richardson)
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MIDDLE POINT — Lincolnview volleyball fans gathered en masse for Tuesday night’s battle with Ada. A win would give the Lancers the outright NWC championship, and it quickly became apparent that it was not a question of if, but only a question of how long. The Lancers swept the Bulldogs 25-20, 25-16, 25-12, and the big celebration began.

“It (the NWC championship) was a goal of ours,” said Lancer coach JaNahn Evans. “It’s a great feeling. I’m so proud of these girls. They’ve worked hard, they’ve gone through ups and downs during the season, and they just wanted it. They played focused tonight especially with the goal in mind of winning the conference.”

Lincolnview ends its regular season at 20-2 overall and 8-0 in the NWC. Ada is 9-12 and 2-6. The 3rd-seeded Lancers begin Division 4 tournament play on Thursday, October 17, at 5:30 at Fort Recovery against the winner of 5th-seeded Lima Central Catholic and 10th-seeded Ottoville.

Lincolnview led Set 1 from the get-go and was up by as much as nine at 23-14 before the feisty visitors went on a 6-1 run to get within 24-20. A kill by junior Madison Williams then ended the set at 25-20.

Ada hung around longer in the second set and had early leads of 4-3 and 8-7 before the Lancers took charge and pulled away to the 25-16 win.

The third set was never a contest, beginning with a 13-2 Lancer run. Lincolnview led by as much as 15 at 19-4, 20-5, and 23-8 before the Bulldogs scored four straight to get within 23-12. A tip kill by senior Jordan Decker and an Ada hitting error ended the set at 25-12.

It was the final home match for Lancer seniors Tori Boyd, Decker, Lana Carey, and Kerstin Davis.

“Four amazing seniors that have given to this program year after year, leadership with their play, with their energy and their attitude,” said Coach Evans. “I can’t say enough about them — Tori, Jordan, Lana, Kirsten — on the court, off the court. They have just been fantastic from Day 1.”

The night was even more special for 5’1 libero Carey, who played very little in 2018 and had to step in this year for the graduated first team all-NWC libero, Lakin Brant.

“All summer we really worked hard together, and I got comfortable with my team,” said Carey. “I wasn’t really nervous. They’re all my best friends, and I was ready to play with them. We have great team chemistry and a great bond. It was a big challenge, but we rose up to that challenge, and look where we are now — NWC champs!”

The Lancers got big numbers from sophomore Kendall Bollenbacher (13 kills, 16 digs), junior Madison Williams (7 kills, 10 digs, 12 receptions, 15 of 15 serving with 1 ace), Carey (9 digs, 8 receptions), Davis (12 digs, 11 receptions, 14 of 15 serving with 3 aces), junior setter Brianna Ebel (33 assists, 13 of 13 serving with 1 ace), freshman Breck Evans (10 digs, 15 of 15 serving with 1 ace), Decker (8 kills), junior Sami Sellers (5 kills), and freshman McKayla Blankemeyer (2 scoring blocks).

According to the NWC website, this was the fourth title for Lincolnview, the other three coming in 1995, 1998, and 1999.

The Lancer junior varsity finished its season at 17-5 after a 25-6, 25-19 win.