Ohio Comes Back to Beat Terrific 21 in First Ever Girls Volleyball All-Star Event

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Sunday was quite a memorable day for high school girls volleyball. The morning began with the (24) student-athletes (12) players each on the "Terrific 21" Girls Volleyball Program and Ohio District One All-Star teams being honored with an All-Star Breakfast at the Embassy Suites Pittsburgh-International Airport Hotel. It ended with Ohio making an improbable comeback to beat the Terrific 21 all-stars 3-2 by scores of 21-25, 21-25, 25-16, 26-24 and 15-6 at Bishop Canevin High School.

At the all-star breakfast, there were three guest speakers each of them legendary WPIAL girls volleyball head coaches. Paul Hindes (Baldwin), Donna Pfeifer (Ambridge) and Bob Miller (North Allegheny). They spoke to the All-Stars about what qualities they tried to develop in the student-athletes that they coached. Each player received a "Terrific 21" All-Stars v. Ohio District One All-Stars drawstring bag, All-Star Match T-shirt and a commemorative 1st Ever Interstate All-Star Volleyball Match Program as gifts for participating in this groundbreaking event. Nearly 100 people were in attendance at the All-Star Breakfast.

The first ever "Terrific 21" Girls Volleyball Program All-Star Match against the Ohio District One All-Stars turned into a thrilling and dramatic contest. The "Terrific 21" All-Stars trailed 4-3 in game one before tying the set at 4-all and grabbing a 7-4 advantage that they would not relinquish in set one. The Ohio District One All-Stars fought back to tye the first game twice after that. The first draw at 13-13 and the second at 15-15. The "T-21" All-Stars then ran off (3) consecutive points with Nikki Oakes (Setter, Baldwin) and a University of Pitt-Johnstown recruit behind the service line to move in front, 18-15. Jenna Snyder (Outside Hitter, Baldwin) tallied (3) straight points to push the "T-21" to a 5-point lead at 21-16. The Ohio District One All-Stars kept battling and got within one point of the "T-21" All-Stars at 21-22 before the "Terrific 21" All-Stars ended the first set by scoring the last three points of the game with West Allegheny, Setter, Carissa Miara (IUP recruit) closing out the set and a 25-21 win for the "Terrific 21" All-Stars.

The "Terrific 21" All-Stars came out roaring at the start of game two. Carissa Miara, the setter "de jour", stepped behind the service line and when she was finished the "T 21" All-Stars were ahead, 7-0. Miara would end the second set with (9) points. The "Terrific 21" All-Stars would hold leads as large as (8) points, the last at 17-9 only to see the Ohio District One All-Stars get within (2) points late in the set at 21-23. The "T-21's" Alyssa DiMaria (Defensive Specialist, Seneca Valley) and Cara Reese (Middle Hitter, Fox Chapel Area) scored the last two points of the game and another 25-21 set two victory for the "Terrific 21" All-Stars.

Trailing 2 games to none the Ohio District One All-Stars had their backs firmly against the wall as game number three got underway.

The near capacity crowd in the Bishop Canevin gymnasium was in full-throat and impressed with what they had witnessed from the "Terrific 21" All-Stars and had the Ohio District One All-Stars on the edge of the cliff and appeared poised to push them over that edge with a three game sweep.

However, the players on the Ohio District One All-Stars had other ideas and did not want to go out that way in this historic inaugural match between these two very talented high school girls volleyball All-Star outfits.

After the "Terrific 21" All-Stars scored the set's first point to lead 1-0, the Ohio District One All-Stars went on the offensive. Behind Elaine Kelly (Middle Hitter, Lakeview) Ohio District One scored the next (6) points to snatch a 6-1 advantage and never looked back.

Ohio District One had double digit leads of (12 points) 19-7 and (10 points) 19-9 on their way to winning their first set of the match.

Elaine Kelly would finish the game with (8) points. Ohio District One All-Star Stephanie Sfara (Outside Hitter, Youngstown, Boardman) contributed (5) points to Ohio's effort in taking game three. Miara using her deft scoring touch again led the cause for the "Terrific 21" with (5) points in the third game. With their 25-16 victory in game three, Ohio District One had served notice that this was indeed going to be a hard fought match and that the "Terrific 21" All-Stars would have to take the match from Ohio District One and it was not going to be given easily to them.

The Ohio District One fans had come to life after their squad had won their first set of the event and as game number four began the energy level had risen for both teams and was quite palpable. There had been chants of "PA" and "Ohio" ringing through the gymnasium and more of them were to come in this most scintillating game of this All-Star Match. There were (11) ties and (6) lead changes in game four. The "Terrific 21" All-Stars took the lead at 4-3 and held it until the Ohio District One All-Stars got their second lead of set four at 19-18. The "T-21" All-Stars rallied to regain advantages at 21-20 and 23-22 only to see the Ohio District One All-Stars take a 24-23 lead. The "Terrific 21" All-Stars tied the set for the last time at 24-all on a termination by Samantha Helmantoler (Outside Hitter, Ringgold). Ohio District One All-Star Nia Grant (Middle Hitter, Howland) and a Penn State University recruit ended the extended fourth game with two powerful putdowns and a 26-24 win in game four for the All-Stars from the Buckeye state. Elaine Kelly paced the Ohio District One All-Stars in game four with (7) points followed by Nia Grant with (6) points and Larissa Santangelo (Outside Hitter, Springfield Local) added (5) points.

Now even with both squads having won 2 sets each this groundbreaking event was headed to the intense "short game" to determine the victor. The "Terrific 21" All-Stars Carissa Miara registered the first point of game five to lead 1-0. Elaine Kelly tied it up at one for the Ohio District One All-Stars. Nia Grant pushed Ohio in front 3-1, when she pounded down the next two points. Nicole Burkhardt (Outside Hitter, Peters Township) tallied the second point of the set for the "T-21" All-Stars followed by points from Cara Reese and Amanda Pato (Setter/Outside Hitter, Frazier) which regained the advantage at 4-3 for the "Terrific 21" All-Stars. Lauren Mitchell (Setter, Heartland Christian Academy) gave the Ohio District One All-Stars a 5-4 advantage and Jenny Yardas (Right Side, Moon Area) evened the game for the "Terrific 21" All-Stars at 5-all. That tye would be it for the "Terrific 21" All-Stars. Dawn Lingenfelter (Libero, Hubbard) would step behind the service line to give the Ohio District One All-Stars a huge bulge at 10-5 and Jessica McGeehan (Outside Hitter, Beaver Local) ended the game and match for the Ohio District One All-Stars by scoring the last (5) points for a 15-6 game five win. The Ohio District One All-Stars got up off the deck and made a spirited rally to defeat the "Terrific 21" All-Stars in the first ever interstate high school girls volleyball All-Star Match, 3 sets to two.

The Most Outstanding Performers in this inaugural event were selected by the two All-Star teams coaching staffs. The Ohio District One coaches selected the "Terrific 21" Girls Volleyball Program's "MOP" and chose West Allegheny's Carissa Miara. The "Terrific 21" Girls Volleyball Program's All-Star coaches selected the Ohio District One All-Star team's "MOP" and picked Howland's Nia Grant. Be sure to check out the "Terrific 21" Girls Volleyball Program's web page for some pictures from the All-Star Breakfast and some pictures from the All-Star Match. Those photographs should be up soon.

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