ADA - Deep and talented Ada had to work hard to sweep spunky local non-league rival Upper Scioto Valley 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 in the home volleyball opener Tuesday evening.
The traditional rivalry win lifted the Lady Bulldog record to 2-0 while the Rams dropped to 0-2.
"USV was scrappy, and their defense basically made us change our plan of attack," said Ada head coach Melissa Gossard. "They used an old-school type of defense, so I told the girls to aim on offense for the NWC logo. Lex (Amburgey) hit the hole perfectly on tips.
"I told the girls they can't over-kill their tips. I thought both freshmen (Bulldog Melina Woods and Ram Callie Daniels) showed up well. Callie shut down the middle."
After the Rams pulled within 21-20 late in set three with a 4-0 run, Gossard called timeout. "I told the girls we were playing too relaxed," she said. "We had to realize USV was for real."
Ada then ended the spurt with a kill by Lindsay Walden. The Bulldogs won a long rally and Carlee Marshall smashed a clean kill down the middle to reach match point.
USV staved off defeat for a point, but a big kill by Rachel Wildman put an end to the second-longest rally of the night, as well as the match.
"The difference at the end was we put the ball where the holes were," Gossard explained.
"I thought we played well but made some mistakes," offered Ram mentor Shelley Daniels. "Ada is a great team and we can learn a lot from this game."
The foes struggled through a tight first game before Ada edged in front 10-8 on a serve winner by junior Megan Simon. The Rams fought back to lead 12-11 with the aid of a block kill by Daniels.
Bulldog senior Lindsay Walden tied it with a tip and Ada eased ahead 14-12 on a block kill. But moments later a cross-court tip by Daniels put the visitors back in front, 15-14.
The Bulldogs then put on an 8-3 splurge to take control. Junior  Marshall smacked two kills and Rachel Wildman added a big one to push Ada into a 22-17 lead.
Brittany Holbrook and Torey Thacker each made successful kills for the Rams before a service error made it 23-19, Ada.
A spike by Thacker landed just inside the back line to edge USV within 23-21. But the Rams served long and Simon rifled a service winner to give Ada the first game, 25-21.
The purple and gold jumped ahead 4-2 in game two before a block kill and a kill by Bree Mullins, followed by a pair of winners by Holbrook which cut the deficit to 7-6. 
Southpaw freshman Woods then came up with a cross-court smash. Wildman served an ace on the sideline and Marshall smashed a kill to spark an 8-1 flurry.
Simon dealt an ace and Woods added a block kill for a 15-7 bulge. USV crept within 16-13, yet two errors and a Walden slam helped Ada regain the momentum. The hosts reeled off six of the final seven points to take set two, 25-15.
The Rams raced to a 6-2 lead in set three before Walden and Wildman found the range on consecutive kills. Ada tied it at 8-all and a Woods smash made sure Ada never trailed again. 
The Bulldogs won the longest rally of the match to go up 12-10, and the long point seemed to take some wind out of the USV sails. Wildman served a winner, Woods hammered a big kill and two Ram errors made it six points in a row and a 16-10 lead for Ada.
The feisty Rams crept back to 17-15 after a kill by Emily Patton, yet Woods came up with a a huge clean kill to the open spot.
Ada moved ahead 21-16 on a Tori Wyss service winner before the Rams made their final push. A couple Ada miscues and a good tip by Mullins, followed by a well-placed kill by Daniels just inside the back line edged USV within 21-20.
Yet after the timeout Ada regrouped to finish on a 4-1 run to finish the match on the Wildman kill.
Marshall led Ada with seven kills and four blocks. Woods came up with six blocks and contributed five kills. Walden knocked down five kills and made three blocks. 
"When you have this many cannons on a team, it's nice," said Gossard of her many hitting options.
Wyss came up with 19 digs and added a pair of kills. Simon hustled to 15 digs and served an ace.
"Megan Simon worked her tail off; she and Tori Wyss played really well in the back row," said Gossard.
The Bulldogs also won the JV match 25-18, 25-17 in new coach Kristin Elliott's debut.
Ada plays at county rival Ridgemont Thursday night. Next Monday they face their first big test at perennial power Ben Logan. The freshman match is at 4:30 p.m., with the JV bout starting at 5:30 p.m.