FAIRBORN — In a match that had 20 ties and 11 lead changes, Fairborn came through in the clutch situations to claim a 25-23, 25-14, 25-22 girls high school volleyball varsity win over visiting Xenia.
Xenia had grabbed an early 10-6 lead in the opening set, but the host Skyhawks evened the score at 13-13 on Kenzi Culbertson spike down the left line. A Xenia out ball and a Lee Ann Williams service ace, combined with another Culbertson kill and a dink by Ella Whalen gave Fairborn an 18-14 lead, but the Bucs rallied to even the match at 19-all on a Fairborn out ball. The teams would tie each other at 22-22 before two Buc miscues and a Williams spike earned Fairborn a 25-23 first-set win.
Game two saw Xenia roll out to a 5-2 lead before a deep lob from Fairborn’s Sara Peterangelo, a Sam Hart service ace and two kills and a service ace from Hani Sampson, and another ace from Katie Knapp and a Whalen block gave the Skyhawks the lead for good. Fairborn then rolled to a 25-14 win.
The third game was the most exciting of the night, with the two teams swapping the lead seven times before the Skyhawks broke a 20-all tie and closed out the match with a final-set 25-22 win.
“For us, we really just played as a team tonight. We just kinda clicked. Xenia did a really great job of getting everything up, but we didn’t shut down. We just kept finding a way to put the ball down,” Fairborn assistant coach Kayleigh Grippa said.
Sampson led everybody with 10 kills and a service ace, Williams had five kills and an ace of her own, Whalen had five kills and a block, and Knapp led the way in serving with three aces to go with two kills. Fairborn is now 4-7 overall, and is 4-6 in the Miami Valley League.
The second-place Skyhawks have a key MVL Valley division contest at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16 when they’ll host first-place Sidney.
Xenia coach Jessica Threats said her team is playing better, despite a rash of recent injuries and illnesses. The team has now lost nine straight matches.
“I think it’s more psychological for us now, to get through this downward turn,” Threats said. “We know we will face everybody in the MVL again, so hopefully we can get some things fixed on our end for the second half of the season, and make the most of it.”
In the loss, Tristin Conner led Xenia with six kills, while Jada McAvene and Haley McManus each had two kills and a block. Xenia (3-9, 1-8 in the MVL) plays at West Carrollton at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 16.
Contact John Bombatch at 937-372-4444, Ext. 2123.