St. Paul volleyball coach Nancy Miller had been looking for her team's blocking ability all night in Tuesday's Division IV district semifinal vs. Colonel Crawford.
With her team leading 22-21 in Game 4 with a chance to close out the Eagles (17-8), Miller pleaded to her team for a key block.
One of the most decorated players in program history delivered.
Olivia Livengood came up with two blocks, and teamed with Bella Stoll for a thunderous block in between to deliver the last three points of the 25-21 win to put St. Paul (21-2) in the district championship for the 16th straight season.
The Lady Flyers — ranked No. 2 in the final Div. IV coaches poll — took Game 1, 25-18, but dropped Game 2 (25-23) before responding to win Game 3 (25-14) and Game 4.
St. Paul will play Buckeye Central (22-2, No. 6 Div. IV) for the district title at 6 p.m. Thursday. It will be the fifth time in the previous six seasons the two traditional powers meet in the districts, and the fourth time it is for a trip to the regionals.
Livengood finished 34 of 36 hitting with 25 kills, 15 digs and nine points on 17 of 17 serving to lead St. Paul.
Elise Nickoli was 19 of 20 serving with 10 points and 34 digs.
Buckeye Central 3, Monroeville 1
When push came to shove, Monroeville briefly had an answer.
But in the end, the Eagles (17-7) were their own undoing in several key points of Tuesday's four-game setback in a Division IV district semifinal vs. Buckeye Central at Willard High School.
Buckeye Central (22-2) won the match, 25-19, 25-19, 27-29, 25-16 to advance to Thursday's championship match against St. Paul (21-2).
On the verge of being swept, Monroeville tied Game 3 at 22-22, and each team went back-and-forth for a wild sequence that saw the Eagles outlast the Buckettes, 29-27 to force a Game 4. With the match tied at 27, an out of bounds serve and a big kill from freshman Breanna Kramer was able to give the Eagles the winning points,
In Game 4, Buckeye Central was able to slowly get out to a three-point lead, holding leads of 12-9 and 15-12. But two straight kills from Madison Williams allowed the Buckettes to push ahead 18-13, and Monroeville never got closer in falling, 25-16.
Brylie Schafer led the Eagles with 17 kills, 17 digs and finished 17 of 18 serving.
Quinn Schafer set 122 of 123 with 35 assists and 15 digs.
Read more in Wednesday’s Norwalk Reflector and Sandusky Register.