NEWTON TOWNSHIP – Beating a team three times is usually a difficult task.
Second seed Philo made it look easy Tuesday.
The Electrics controlled the net in sweeping 11th seed Tri-Valley 25-16, 25-13, 25-10 in the Division II district semifinal at Maysville High School.
Maddie Clayton had 16 kills, 10 digs and six blocks to highlight the winning effort, while Hunter Barnes chipped in 10 kills, 11 digs and five blocks to go with 15-of-15 serving, Haley Robinson was 7-of-7 serving with 12 digs and Hannah Allen passed out 31 assists to go with 22-of-25 serving as the Electrics advanced to face top seed West Holmes, which beat Morgan 25-4, 25-13, 25-8 Tuesday.
The district championship is Saturday with the time and location to be determined.
Philo (23-2) survived a five-setter in the first meeting with Tri-Valley (16-9) this season then topped the Scotties in four in the second meeting. Coach Kris Kern felt his Electrics “were on a mission” in the third meeting.
“Tri-Valley is a fine opponent. They are well-coached and play hard,” he said. “I thought if it went three, we would win easily, but if it went five, Tri-Valley could beat us.
“It could have been anyone. We’re peaking at the right time.”
The Knights eliminated Philo in three sets a year ago to win the district title. Kern noted handling West Holmes’ serves will be crucial.
“Their serving is tough, and if we don’t pass well, it could be overwhelming,” he said. “Our girls have wanted to play West Holmes since April. I don’t expect the serves to overwhelm us.”
Avery Miller led the Scotties with five kills, five assists and four digs, Brianna Dawson had three kills and an ace and Hannah George added two aces and 15 digs.
One of George’s aces helped Tri-Valley take a 3-0 lead in the first set, but Philo answered, scoring seven of the next nine points to build a 7-5 lead.
After Kearstin Dumolt hit a kill and George served another ace to tie the set at 7, the Electrics took control. They took advantage of some errors and a pair of aces from Clayton to build a 13-7 lead.
Tri-Valley was never closer than five points from there as Clayton hit a pair of kills and a kill from Courtney Talbott sealed the 25-16 win.
The teams went back and forth early in the second set. With the score 5-4, the Electrics went on a 5-1 run to build a 10-5 edge.
The Scotties trimmed that deficit to 10-7, but five straight points, including kills from Allen and Maddi Smith, allowed Philo to take control. The Scotties never got closer than five points, while the Electrics closed the second set with seven straight points.
Philo carried that momentum into the third set, scoring the first five points. The Electrics had leads of 7-1 and 11-2, both forcing Tri-Valley timeouts, then scored the final six points to clinch the sweep.
“We told our girls we wanted to put more holes in the dam than they had fingers,” Kern said. “We kept the ball. We knew we had hitters and setters, but my assistant coaches have done a great job working with our girls on blocking and passing.”