|THE FINAL WORD: THOUGHTS ON THE OPENING NIGHT OF IAC VOLLEYBALL ... AND MORE (2017-08-30)
The regular season got off to a pretty good start for Tioga and Waverly, while S-VE put up a good fight against a highly-regarded Candor team in a loss.
Tioga won its 65th consecutive regular-season match with a sweep of Newark Valley.
Despite the absence of three-year starter Anna Schumacher in the front line, the Lady Tigers were very good at the net. Senior Martha Schumacher hammered home seven kills, and junior Charli Hall and senior Kurstan Martin were strong as well.
Sophomores Chloe Bellis, Giovanna Rossi, and Madison Macumber showed glimpses of what lies ahead in the future.
Bellis looks like she is going to be a dynamic all-around player, while Rossi has the hitting power to be a force at the net, and Macumber should end up being a valuable all-around player.
Once Anna Schumacher returns from injury, this team will have a glut of hitters, which is a good problem to have.
The ultimate success of this team may depend on how quickly Bellis and Macumber progress as setters. They’ve both played a great deal of volleyball, although not at the varsity, and coach Des Ford has a long track record of working young players into the rotation seamlessly.
Tioga hosts Thomas A. Edison Thursday night. The last team to beat the Lady Tigers was Edison in the opening match of the 2013 season.
Waverly is going to be an interesting team to watch this season.
Sophomore Paige Lewis had a very good first varsity match in a win over Watkins Glen last night and should keep getting better, and junior Sydney Meyers has a chance to be a dynamic hitter. The duo will be fun to watch this season.
Senior Katie Goodwin is a proven commodity at setter and defensively, and junior Seara Kirk has a lot of promise.
The loss of junior Jordan Mente at the net will hurt the Lady Wolverines, but the division is there for the taking.
The Lady Wolverines’ biggest obstacle will be Thomas A. Edison. The Lady Wolverines host the Lady Spartans on Sept. 21, and travel to the Heights on Oct. 18.
S-VE hasn’t been much of a factor in the IAC volleyball wars in many years, but this group could be pesky, and knock a few teams off this year.
Candor is widely-regarded as the clear-cut favorite to win the Small School Division, and the Lady Panthers went on the road and played them tough, dropping the first and third games by scores of 25-23.
The Lady Panthers didn’t do much damage at the net against Candor, but did a nice job keep of keeping the ball alive on Candor kill attempts, and chasing down balls in the back of the court.
S-VE faces a tough stretch of games against O-M, Waverly and Edison over the next two weeks. It will be interesting to see how they fare.
Sayre senior Ryan Murrelle, who shot an 81 last week, fired a 76 Monday to help Sayre to a third-place finish Tuesday at River Valley. The smooth right-hander is capable of better and will make a run at repeating as “Player of the Year in the NTL.”
The Redskins have finished third in each of the first two NTL matches with senior Nate Sweet, junior James Esposito, and sophomore Gavin Blair playing well in both matches. Senior Ben Harding has also been solid in both matches as the fifth golfer.
Athens junior Nate Kennedy bounced back from a 101 in the first match to finish fifth Tuesday with an 84. The Wildcats, who finished sixth in the first match, also won their first point of the season Tuesday.
Junior Dylan Krise, who led the Wildcats in the first match, had another solid round Tuesday, and appears set to solidify the No. 2 spot.
The Final Word returns Saturday following a full night of high school football.
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