The 10th-seeded Tallmadge volleyball team lost a thrilling 25-19, 25-21, 20-25, 23-25, 15-11 decision to top-seeded Canal Fulton Northwest in a Division II district title contest Oct. 24 at Tallmadge High School's James O. Maddox Court.
The Indians, who have been to the regional competition a number of times, improved to 18-7. The Lady Blue Devils finished 8-18.
Tallmadge fought tooth and nail throughout the match.
The Lady Blue Devils rallied from an early 5-2 deficit in the third set and a 12-6 deficit in the fourth set.
Finally, Northwest made its early lead hold up in the deciding fifth set.
Still, Tallmadge made it interesting as it turned a 9-3 hole into a 13-11 margin.
But the Indians prevailed, thanks to a couple of unforced errors by the Lady Blue Devils.
Junior middle hitter Rachel Gardella, who seemed to have a hand in just about every crucial play for Tallmadge, finished with 27 kills and three blocks.
Do-everything senior setter Karly Helmuth made sure Gardella had her right arm ready to swing with 51 assists. Senior outside hitter Michael Murdocco and freshman outside hitter Jessica Herman each had eight kills for the Lady Blue Devils. Herman also had three aces.
Also contributing for Tallmadge were freshman Olivia Ayres (28 digs), who dove just about everywhere to track down loose balls, sophomore Lexi Philen (22 digs) and junior middle hitter Jenna Stralka (two blocks).
Middle hitter Kaitlyn Thompson, who also played her best when the stakes were highest, finished with 21 kills for Northwest.
For more, see the Oct. 27 edition of the Tallmadge Express.