STOW  — For Stow-Munroe Falls volleyball, everything was set up perfectly.

Stow knew if it could get past Archbishop Hoban Tuesday in a Division I district semifinal game, it would have a shot to avenge last year’s loss in the district final to Walsh Jesuit.

Hoban, however, had other ideas. 

The Bulldogs looked disjointed from the start, as Hoban scored a 25-14, 25-23, 25-22 win over Stow Tuesday in district semifinal at James G. Tyree Gymnasium.

Thus, it will be Hoban who gets a shot at its rival in the district final. Walsh defeated Kent Roosevelt in the other district semifinal Tuesday.

Walsh and Stow were set to meet Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the district final at Tyree Gymnasium.

Hoban improved to 13-12, while Stow ended the season at 15-9.

Stow coach Miguel Ramirez credited Hoban for playing a great match.

"If wasn’t for lack of effort on our part," Ramirez said. "We just couldn’t get into a rhythm offensively and couldn’t keep it going for a whole set.

"You’ve got to give credit to Hoban for making a lot of defensive plays," he added. "They’ve got a lot of big blocks in the center."

Hoban coach Leona Oani said her team was "on" Tuesday.

"We played together. They girls really wanted it tonight," Oani said. "We heard a lot of good things about (Stow).

"I would say our passing was really good tonight," she added. "That allowed up to move around the court."

Signs were ominous for Stow from the start, as the Bulldogs seemed unable to put any kills down in the first set. Hoban took an early 7-1 lead behind middle hitter London Portis.

Portis, who is headed to Youngstown State, led all players with 17 kills and five blocks in the match.

"We knew London was a good player," Ramirez said.

Stow never recovered from the slow start, as Hoban led by as many as 23-11 in the first set before closing it out.

The second set was a much tighter affair, as the two teams tied on 12 different points in the set.

A kill from Lizzy Stefanov gave Stow a 20-19 lead — but Hoban then ran off five straight points as Portis and freshman Kara Zaucha asserted themselves at the net.

Stow was able to fend off four straight set points — forcing Oani to call timeout twice — but a cross-court kill by Zaucha ended the second set. Zaucha finished with 11 kills.

Stow attempted to come out swinging in the third set and took its largest lead of the match at 12-9, forcing the Knights to call timeout.

However, Hoban fought back. After falling behind 18-17, Hoban would scored six straight points and would not relinquish the lead from there.

Portis would get her 17th kill on match point.

Stefanov and Julia DiPaola each finished with seven kills for Stow, while setter Lauren Fair had 18 assists. Libero Alyssa Tallarico finished with 16 digs. 

Stow reached the district semifinal by dispatching 25-16, 25-22, 25-18 in a sectional final last Saturday.

Against Falls, Stefanov led the Lady Bulldogs with 22 kills, 9 digs and 4 aces, while Fair had 39 assists and DiPaola had 13 kills and 7 digs.

Tallarico added 11 digs and 3 aces for Stow.

Ramirez will say goodbye to a senior class that includes DiDaPaola, Tallarico, Jacy Guider, Sydney Strerben and Jillian Tegiacchi.

Ramirez said the class of 2018 brought "a whole lot of perseverance" to the program.

"They all started out very young and they had to learn the hard way: By playing," Ramirez said. "Some girls would have hung their heads. They kept at it and had two pretty good seasons."


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