Warren's Alexia Bowers swings against Conneaut in the 2023 District 10 Class 3A volleyball semifinals at the Hagerty Family Events Center on Oct. 31, 2023. Photo by Mark Evans.

Dragons Breathe Fire Return to D10 Volleyball Title Match while Ousting Four-Time Champ Conneaut

October 31, 2023

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ERIE, Pa. – For a year, Warren volleyball has used its loss to Conneaut in the 2022 District 10 Class 3A title match as motivation.

Now the Dragons have a chance for redemption after ousting four-time defending champion Conneaut in the District 10 semifinals Tuesday night at the Hagerty Event Center in Erie.

“It really means a lot,” Warren head coach Mike Dolan told Your Daily Local in a phone interview after the match. “The seniors really wanted this. We wanted to get back (to the championship match) knowing we didn’t play our best last year in the finals. Getting back is a goal we set at the beginning of the year. To get there is big.”

To get there, Warren had to go through the queen of the hill in the Eagles, who gave the Dragons everything they could handle Tuesday night.

“That Conneaut team plays really good defense,” Dolan said. “They are very athletic. We had to stay on the attack tonight. If we hadn’t, it might have been a different game.”

Warren couldn’t have asked for anything more from its attack with four different players reaching double-digits in kills.

Kylie Fehlman led the way with 14 kills and three blocks while Maddy Jones and Alexia Bowers each had 13 kills and Madelyn Nosel chipped in 11 kills. Jones also had three aces and a dig.

With that being said we have our work cut out for us against a good Meadville team.

“That (having balanced) was big,” Dolan said. “It seemed like (setter) Lindsay (Madigan) was able to find the hot hand. Early on it was Madelyn and Kylie who had nice hits. Later it was Maddy and Alexia who had some clutch hits. It is big having so many people who can put the ball away. Tonight we did a good job of getting to the right person at the right time.”

Madigan did her job at an outstanding level recording 53 set assists while also adding eight digs and three aces.

She and the offense came up clutch in the third set after Conneaut had tied things up at one set apiece and had taken an early advantage in the pivotal third set.

“The good thing was they never panicked or anything, even at the beginning when we were down a little,” Dolan said. “They never got down on themselves. They just kept grinding. If they made mistakes, they let them go and moved on to the next play. Eventually, we were able to pull ahead a little at the end.”

Pulling ahead a little at the end was the story of the night for Warren.

“All of the sets were back and forth until the end,” Dolan said.

Summer Lucks was once again a stalwart on defense for Warren with 30 digs and two aces. She is closing in on the school record for digs, according to Dolan, and will have a shot in the title game Thursday.

“She seems to be able to make every play back there,” Dolan said. “Hopefully, I don’t take it for granted. She is automatic. She cleans up every ball. She is in the right spot every time. She communicates with her teammates. She is extremely important to what we do, and she is a big reason we have won so many games this year.”

Lilly Newton added six kills and Lily Walker seven digs for Warren.

Paris Karastury had 21 digs for Conneaut and surpassed 1,000 career digs in the third set.

Courtney Perrye led the Eagles with 10 kills and two blocks with Laine Harrington adding eight kills.

Payten Karastury ran the offense for Conneaut with 28 set assists and finished a double-double with 11 digs while also adding five aces.

On defense, Ashlee Barabas, Kenedy Oates, and Morgan Poff each contributed 10 digs for the Eagles.

Warren will take on Meadville in the title game Thursday at a site and time to be announced. Meadville beat the Dragons, 3-2, a couple of weeks ago.

“We have our work cut out for us against a good Meadville team,” Dolan, whose team is looking for its first District 10 title since 2018 when the Dragons second in the state in Class 3A.

With that being said we have our work cut out for us against a good Meadville team.

         

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