LEIPSIC — A tall, talented, and deep Leipsic volleyball team topped Crestview in straight sets Thursday night 25-19, 25-15, 25-21. The Vikings (20-2) are ranked 4th in Ohio in the latest Division 4 poll. They are the Putnam County League champions and are the runners-up to undefeated Liberty-Benton in the Blanchard Valley Conference. Crestview (16-6) is the Northwest Conference co-champion with Columbus Grove.

“We knew what to expect, but I was kind of disappointed with our level of intensity,” said Crestview coach Tammy Gregory. “We’ve played against good teams, we’ve gone up against all-Ohio hitters. Leipsic is a very nice team, an all-around good team, but at the same time I don’t think we gave them what we have seen this season.”

The three sets followed three different patterns. Set One was a battle until late when Leipsic pulled away. There were five ties and three lead changes until a Knight kill try sailed long to put the Vikings up 13-12. Kills by Crestview junior Lexi Gregory and senior Avery McCoy got the Knights within one at 14-13 and 15-14, but that’s when Leipsic began to gradually pull away.

The second set was all Vikings. They spurted out to a 4-0 lead and, led by the hitting and blocking of 6’3 senior Hayley Heitmeyer and 5’9 senior Carlee Siefker, gradually increased the margin to the ten-point spread at the end.

Set Three was a battle early and a battle late, but it was the middle of the set that hurt the Knights. There were five ties and two lead changes early. Leipsic took a 6-5 lead on a block by junior Brooke Brown. The Vikings would never lose that lead, but Crestview stayed close and were within one at 11-10 on a Lexi Gregory kill before a 12-3 run put Leipsic up 23-13 and seemingly in total command.

However, a 6-0 Crestview run made things interesting again at 23-19. That run was started with a kill by junior Lauryn Black and continued with some excellent serving (four aces) by sophomore libero Bailey Gregory. Her next serve went into the net — 24-19 — but a McCoy kill and a Viking error closed the gap to 24-21. A Crestview serve sailed long to end the match.

McCoy, as usual, came up big on offense — 7 kills, 13 assists, 11 of 12 serves with two aces. Lexi Gregory had 13 kills and 11 digs. Bailey Gregory had 13 digs and was 9 of 11 serving with four aces. Junior setter Maddy Lamb had 11 assists and was 6 of 7 serving with two aces. Black led in digs with 16.

Crestview opens tournament play Tuesday at 5:30 at home against Delphos Jefferson.

“Now we focus on tournament,” added Coach Gregory. “It was a great team to play going into tournament, to prepare us for the next level. I just told the girls in the locker room it’s anybody’s season. Regardless of what we’ve done to them (Jefferson) in the past, regardless of the record, that means nothing. We just have to find that energy, what we want to achieve, and it’s gonna be how hard we work for it.”