ADA — The Ada volleyball team built a two-set lead but fell to a late rally from visiting Columbus Grove in a seesaw five-set Northwest Conference thriller Tuesday night.

The 21-25, 25-27, 25-23, 25-21, 15-9 defeat snapped a three-match Ada win streak and dropped the purple and gold record to 5-3 (0-1 NWC).

Ada is now 4-1 on home territory this season. Grove improved to 4-3 overall and 1-0 with the comeback win in the NWC-opening battle of the Bulldogs. "We lost the momentum after the third-set loss," said Ada head coach Kyleigh Tabor. "We kept getting in holes to start out every set after the first one. And that carried over into the short fifth set.

"We played with heart and pushed through it. But Grove had the momentum late, and we looked tired at the end," she added.

It was Ada's first match in 10 days, and perhaps the layoff affected their conditioning. "We started out sharp, but maybe the long layoff did affect us at the end," said the coach.

Grove senior hitter Alayna Ricker opened the decisive fifth game with two clean smashes, sandwiched around an Ada hitting miscue. Senior middle Megan Light slammed a kill for the hosts, but CG responded with a big hit off a blocker for a 4-1 margin.

Light's clean kill cut the margin to 4-3, and a diving save from Miranda Wills could not keep Grove from winning an extended rally for 5-3. Ada later won a long rally to inch within 6-5.

Indecision let a ball drop on the Ada side after another lengthy rally, which seemed to energize the visitors. A big smash by senior Sara Dipnarine made it 8-4 as CG held all the momentum. Grove then capped a rally with a clean kill from senior Grace Selhorst that landed just inside the corner.

An Ada mis-hit advanced the deficit to 10-4. A Courtney Sumner slam for Ada just caught the sideline to end the costly 5-0 flurry. But another Grove kill off a block made it 11-5. CG hit wide and a Light block pulled Ada within 11-8.

A clever tip and a smash by Ricker tip built the cushion to 13-8. Wills slammed a kill for Ada, but CG reached match point at 14-9.

Ricker then ended the match with a kill that fell in the middle off an Ada blocker, 15-9.

Set one was close most of the way. Ada used a 9-2 spurt to erase a small deficit and grab a 15-10 lead. CG responded with a 7-2 run to tie it.

Afer an Ada timeout, a kill by Kirsten Poling and a Kylie Acheson two-hand tip sparked a 3-0 flurry. CG inched within 21-20, but a Poling attack fell in off a block.

Sophomore Sumner came up with a key tip to the open short sideline to create some breathing room at 23-20. Grove then hit long to give Ada set point.

The visitors saved one point but served into the net to fall, 25-21.

Grove raced to a 6-0 lead to start game two as senior Lauren Benroth served two aces. Ada clawed back within 10-9 behind strong serving from Acheson.

An overhead southpaw tip by Poling and an error tied it 12-all. CG hit just long twice in a row to give Ada its first lead at 14-12.

A mis-hit ended the 9-4 Ada run. CG tied it 14-14, yet Sumner served the hosts to an 18-15 edge. Ricker smashed a clean kill.

A great Ada save was answered by successful Ricker and Dipnarine CG kills. Light drilled an unreturned attack, but Ada hit wide to make it 20-19.

Grove hit long to prompt a visitor timeout. A two-hand push got the visitors with 21-20, and Ricker tied it with a big kill. A lefty tip by Benroth put CG in front by a point.

Grove surged ahead 24-22 after a Selhorst sideline smash, but they served into the net on set point. Sumner saved a massive Ricker attack with a clutch dig, and CG subsequently hit long to tie it up 24-24.

A two-hand push to the open back corner gave CG another set point. But Light slammed a kill off a blocker out of bounds to tie it 25-all.

A passing error by Grove gave Ada set point. Wills capitalized to served it out as Light smashed another kill out of bounds off a CG blocker to win it in comeback style, 27-25.

The home Bulldogs fell behind 4-1 early in set three. A Lexi White ace and a pair of CG hit errors put Ada in front 5-4. Acheson's attack trickled over the net and in for 6-6.

Ada won a long rally yet served long for 7-7. CG returned the favor with a cross court angled kill off the top of the net to grab a 10-8 advantage. Wills responded to a Benroth block kill by nailing a huge clean smash.

Poling's service winner preceded a short CG flurry. Ada won a long rally on a Wills backward bump overhead to an opening in the middle.

A Wills hammer kill off the top of the net pulled the hosts within 14-12. CG hit just long to end a rally, then Ada won another lengthy rally. A Ricker kill gave CG a 16-14 edge but Light's power slam was returned out of play.

Sumner hit the sideline with a cross-court kill to tie it 16-all. Acheson hit hard to tie it again, and a CG error gave Ada the lead. After a Grove mis-hit, it was 19-17.

Grove won the longest rally of the match when a push shot went just wide. A lefty tip tied it 19-19 and the visitors regained the lead. A clean Ricker kill made it 21-19 and Ada called timeout.

But the hosts hit into the net to cap a 5-0 CG run. A reflex hit dropped in on the sideline for Ada to end the spurt at 22-20, but Grove found the open corner on the next point.

A Ricker outside kill fell in off the net, but she then hit wide to keep Ada alive down 24-21. Light's soft tip cut the lead to two. A Sumner serve hit the top of the net and barely dropped over for an ace at 24-23.

But Ricker finished it with a kill that ricocheted off two Ada defenders, 25-23.

In game four, CG rode the momentum of the previous set win to an 8-4 lead. The visitors extended the margin to 15-7 on a 9-1 spurt as southpaw Makailey Bermudez slammed a kill and Dipnarine fired an ace for the red Bulldogs.

Ada started to inch closer at 18-11, but CG stemmed the tide with a huge kill. They made three hitting errors to cut their lead to 20-15.

A key block ended a rally in CG's favor at 21-15. A pair of Grove mis-hits and a good sideline serve from Acheson pulled Ada within 21-18.

Sumner tipped wide, but Wills slammed a kill off a CG block out of play. A lunging save by Ada sailed wide, and an error put them in peril down 24-19. Wills staved off set point with a huge kill, and Sumner's service winner cut the lead to 24-21.

But the ever-present Ricker hit just inside the sideline to win set four 25-21, tie it 2-2 and set up the short final game win.

"Our block could not stop Ricker," said Tabor. Selhorst authored some key kills in the comeback, and former Adaite sophomore Jaylen Sautter also contributed some key kills and strong serving.

Senior middle Light led Ada with 18 kills, 11 digs and two blocks. Hustling senior Wills contributed 25 digs, a dozen kills and one block despite an ankle injury.

Junior Poling dished out 30 assists, hit eight kills, made three blocks and served a pair of aces. Senior Acheson contributed four kills and hustled up 20 digs, while serving up two aces.

Sophomore Sumner hustled up 11 digs, drilled four kills and dealt four aces. White added 13 digs.

The Ada reserves lost 2-1 to fall to 3-5. The freshmen split a shortened match, 1-1.

The Bulldogs visit local league foe Bluffton Thursday, Sept. 17. The Pirates (7-2, 1-0 NWC) have won five in a row after sweeping Delphos Jefferson Tuesday.

"Bluffton will be tough," warned Tabor. "They have some good juniors, led by Stackhouse and Schwab."