GRAFTON — The South rose again at this year’s Cannon Classic.
Two teams from far south of the tournament site reached the championship match in the 23rd edition of the prestigious tournament Saturday at Midview High School.
Hudson, from Summit County, defeated Louisville, of Stark County, in three games, 22-25, 25-21 and 26-24. It was the first time Hudson ever reached the Cannon Classic final. Louisville made the championship round for the sixth time and the first since winning in 2003.
En route to the title, the Explorers rallied to beat the host team in three games. Midview won the opening game, 25-18, and was ahead in the Game 2 by a 22-20 score before the Explorers came back and won, 25-23. Hudson dominated the third game, 25-13.
“Our matches seem to follow a pattern,” Midview coach Debbie Borsz said. “We’ll play well in the first game. We think we have it right then we let the other team come back in the second game and we can’t always close it out.”
The Middies sandwiched their loss in the semifinal with victories over North Olmsted in the first round and Maple Heights in the third-place match. Midview is now 13-5 for the season.
“We have some intensity issues,” Borsz said. “We need to maintain intensity. I think we need to work on game-type situations in practice — where we need a point here or a good set or good pass — rather than just do drills.”
The Explorers fashioned a balanced attack from middle hitter Elyse Adams with 12 kills and outside hitters Susan Faul and Jade Black with nine kills apiece. But it was Erin Webster, Hudson’s junior libero, who bedeviled the Middies in the final two games with her serve receiving, passing and jump-serving. Webster, who was named the Classic’s Most Valuable Player, drove a dagger in Midview by serving seven consecutive points, including two aces, to give Hudson a 19-8 lead in Game 3.
Hudson had six of its 10 block kills in Game 3. The Explorers served 10 aces, three each by Webster and Sarah Hanson.
Midview’s Jacki Street had six of her team-leading 11 kills in Game 1. Kelsey Voit had eight kills, Sara DuBois added six and Lauren Gauvreau had five. Hannah Duran had 32 assists.
Hudson’s victory over Louisville made the Explorers 12-4. Hudson is on a 10-match win streak.
Midview salvaged the tournament by beating Maple Heights in three games in the third-place match. The Middies won the opener 25-22 and lost 25-14 before coming back with a 25-19 win.
Street had six kills and DuBois had four for Midview in the third-place match. Courtney Chalmers had 14 digs and Duran had 22 assists.
Elyria Catholic captured fifth place. After losing to Louisville in three games in the first round, the Panthers downed Midpark, 25-15, 25-13, and defeated North Olmsted, 25-23, 19-25 and 25-20.
The final match was especially pleasing to EC coach Kim Watson.
“This was the first time all season I saw them really communicate,” Watson said. “They really came together in that last match.”
Freshman setter Brooke Dugan led Elyria Catholic (11-7) with 15 assists and 12 points. Megan Hanson had 11 kills, Zoe Zwegat had 11 blocks and Katie Svat had 30 digs.
North Olmsted (7-11) was playing without top hitter Amanda Balasko, who suffered a concussion in practice.
“That put us in a bind,” North Olmsted coach Jason Krucek said.
Contact Steve Byrne at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Maple Heights 26-25, Midpark 24-9
Louisville 25-25-25, Elyria Catholic 14-27-18
Midview 29-25, North Olmsted 27-22
Hudson 25-25, Margaretta 18-18
Elyria Catholic 25-25, Midpark 15-13
North Olmsted 25-25, Margaretta 21-21
Louisville 25-25, Maple Heights 20-22
Hudson 18-25-25, Midview 25-23-13
Margaretta 25-25, Midpark 6-13
Elyria Catholic 25-19-25, North Olmsted 23-25-20
Midview 25-14-25, Maple Heights 22-25-19
Hudson 22-25-26, Louisville 25-21-24
Kim Bulcroft, North Olmsted
Hannah Duran, Midview
Stephanie Litke, Midpark
Alexis Lynn, Magaretta
Taylor Rogers, Louisville
Katie Svat, Elyria Catholic
Erin Webster, Hudson
Nile Whaley-Garrison, Maple Heights
MVP — Erin Webster