GRANITE CITY - Trailing in the first set 19-16, Edwardsville's girls' volleyball team rallied to score the set's final nine points to take the set, and from there, used the momentum to defeat Belleville West 25-19, 25-14 in the IHSA Class 4A regional final Thursday evening at Granite City's Memorial Gym.

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The Tigers played one of their most solid matches of the season against a very scrappy and tough Maroon defensive scheme that makes things difficult for their opponents and were able to make the needed adjustments to find success.

"We played a pretty solid game," said Edwardsville head coach Heather Ohlau. "West's defense was solid as usual, and we had to work on different shots to create scoring opportunities. When they came, we took advantage of them."

The match's turning point happened after a Tiger time-out, trailing 19-16. The Tigers were able to get the ball back at 19-17, then served out the set by scoring the final eight points to win the set 25-19.

"In the second set, we started how we finished," Ohlau said. "I believe that seven of our players ended up with at least one kill."

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Lexie Griffin had served up 12 points for the Tigers, with an ace, while Emma Garner had eight points and an ace, and Kaitlyn Conway served up five points with an ace. Sydney Davis had three blocks, while Sydney Harris had two, and Ava Waltenberger had one block. Gabby Saye ended up with 11 kills, while Davis had six and Waltenberger five, Griffin had 15 assists, with Maddie Vieth coming up with five, and Conway had 10 digs and Garner had nine.

The Tigers went to 30-7 on the year with the win and moved one step closer to their ultimate goal of winning a state title, while the Maroons ended their season at 21-13.

"Two down five to go," Ohlau said. "That's the goal."

It was a big win for the Tigers for more than one reason. Edwardsville will host their semifinal match in the Pekin sectional on Monday night against O'Fallon, who defeated Belleville East 22-25, 25-20, 25-14 in the Collinsville regional final Thursday night. Having home court will be very important to the Tigers, and Ohlau knows her team will be ready to face the Panthers.

"That's a unique situation, and these girls are going to be fired up again," Ohlau said, "so we'll have to keep our emotions in check and take care of business. At this point in the season, no team is to be overlooked, and we've just got to keep on fighting."

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