When the 16 Hawks traveled to Toledo on March 12 to face some of the stiffest completion this year, they were not disappointed with the talent they encountered. ACE Q-Sport was first up, and it was a war in the middle. Q-Sport brought 6'5" and 6'3" middles, and Jessi Whitley and Jessi Grimes were up to the task. The Hawks blew a 24-19 lead in the first game before falling 25-27. But the Hawks regrouped: Jessi and Jessi had a solid match behind great passing from Savanah, Julie, and Sam as the Hawks came out on top, 25-23 and 15-7, to win the first match in pool play.
It didn't get any easier for the Hawks, as TVC was up next. The Hawks fell behind early despite some strong kills from Kat Howard as TVC took the match, 25-16, 25-21,
Pittsburgh Elite was up next. The Hawks saw multiple kills from Whitley, Tara, and Kat, and strong defensive plays from Emily Chafin, Savanah, and Julie as they rolled to a 25-19 win. Game 2 saw Tara have a personal best 7 kills, and Emily had 6 digs as the Hawks won again, 25-18.
Renaissance Red came up first for the Hawks after re-pooling. Red was shell-shocked as Karyn Powell dished off assists to 6 different players and the Hawks pounded Red, 25-14. Game 2 was much of the same. Again, 7 different players recorded kills, and solid passing from Savanah, Emily, Sam, and Julie put the finishing touch on Renaissance, 25-18.
OHVA was next in line. The Hawks started sluggishly until Ashley Savage got her jump serve rolling in game 1, leading the Hawks back to a 25-21 victory. Game 2 saw Emily start off with 8 straight serves, including 3 aces, as the Hawks started hot and stayed hot. Jessi and Jessi combined 11 kills from the middle and Tara added 4 more as the Hawks spanked OVHA, 25-14.
Next up was the most exciting match the Hawks would play all weekend, against nationally known Dayton Jrs, the top-seeded team in the tournament. Game 1 saw both teams battle back and forth as Karyn distributed the ball widely, allowing Emily, Kat, Jessi, and Jessi each to collect multiple kills and deliver the Hawks a 25-23 win. Game 2 was also tight, with Sam, Savanah, Julie, Emily, Tara, and Karyn each contributing multiple digs. Ashley showed her strong jump serve and solid attacks, keeping Dayton on their heels. The lead swung back and forth until Dayton put the Hawks away, 24-26. Game 3 saw the crowd swell around the court to watch this battle. Dayton jumped out early as the Hawks fell behind, 3-8. But then Jessi Grimes and Kat combined for 7 kills, bringing the Hawks back. The match went to the wire, with great defensive plays from Julie, Sam, Emily, and Savanah (22 digs combined) before the Hawks finally fell, 14-16. This classic battle, the essence of volleyball, earned both teams a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Hawks then faced Oiler Attack – 16 Black. The emotion of the previous match showed as the Hawks hung tough for a while, eventually falling to Oiler Attack, 21-25, 15-15. The Hawks finished 5th in their toughest tournament this year. Next up for the Hawks is the MidEast Qualifier.