ASHVILLE — Crystal Affolter knows what makes her Circleville Lady Tigers special.
Our girls are very close and that is a big thing for us,” the Circleville coach said. “We have a good group of girls and five strong seniors. They bring the leadership and the younger girls look up to that.”
Behind solid blocking, serving and kill play, the Lady Tigers clinched the outright Mid-State League championship by sweeping the Teays Valley Lady Vikings 25-11, 25-14 and 25-12 Tuesday evening.
“Teays Valley is known for coming back,” Circleville senior Kristen Walters said. “We made sure we started strong and kept it going.”
“We had the confidence and we knew we had to come out and play hard because Teays Valley is a good team,” CHS senior Casse Mogan said. “We had to play our game and we were able to.”
Mogan had 19 kills, five blocks and nine digs for the Lady Tigers, while Walter collected 21 points, a pair of aces and two kills.
The league title is the first for Circleville (18-3, 12-1) since it joined the MSL. Circleville's last league title came in the South Central Ohio League during the glory years of the mid-1980s.
Circleville went on a 9-0 run to close out the first game, using eight straight serves from Kara Knecht and a slam by Mogan to finish out a 25-11 win.
Knecht had 23 points, five digs and 25 assists for the game.
“The girls were on a mission,” Affolter said. “They wanted to take care of the outright title and not add any pressure for Thursday. They were determined and accomplished their mission.”
Blocking from Amber Mclaughlin, Mogan and Wade helped to continue the flow in the second game. Walters added five straight serves during the set to put Teays Valley (9-8, 8-5) into a deep two-game hole.
“We've been practicing hard to try and improve our serving,” Walters said. “I was pleased with the way I served and how everyone did overall.”
A 7-0 run midway through the third game, paced by kill work from Mogan and Wade, widened the CHS lead to 21-10. A Kellie Willis kill finished off the match and gave the Lady Tigers its MSL crown.
Wade finished with six kills, a block and five digs. Jill Truex chipped in eight digs; Kellis Willis had two kills and a block and Mclaughlin contributed a pair of kills.
“They played like league champions,” Teays Valley coach Kim Martin said. “They controlled the tempo of the whole match.”
Alex Graves had six kills for Teays Valley. Kayla Brady gathered eight digs and Jess VonIns had 11 assists.
The night wasn't a total wash for Teays Valley as the Lady Vikings held its Volley for the Cure event. The program, uniting volleyball teams across the state, raises money for breast cancer research.
“We had a nice turnout for the game,” Martin said. “Jess VonIns worked hard on the event for her project and it turned out well.”
Circleville has some unfinished business when they entertain Hamilton Township Thursday for senior night. The Lady Rangers were the only team to defeat CHS in the league this season.
“The Hamilton game is about redemption,” Mogan said. “That's our senior night and we didn't play well against them the first time.”
Teays Valley travels to Fairfield Union Thursday to finish out the MSL portion of its schedule.