|THE FINAL WORD: THOUGHTS ON TIOGA-CANDOR VOLLEYBALL ... AND MORE (2018-09-14)
I’m fortunate to do something I love.
I mean, seriously, I make a living writing about high school sports.
Yet, there are times when this site becomes a bit overwhelming. The hours, and the business aspects of operating a Web site can make it seem like drudgery.
And then, something happens that makes me realize how truly lucky I am to do what I do.
Thursday night, I witnessed a bit of history as the Candor volleyball team battled Tioga for nearly 2 1/2 hours in a sweltering gymnasium to bring the Lady Tigers’ epic five-year, 87-match regular-season win streak to an end.
The match featured long rallies extended by athletic digs and diving saves, punctuated by breath-taking powerful kills, and perfectly-timed blocks at the nets.
Both teams were on top of their games, playing their best volleyball of the young season.
Candor sophomore Braelyn Hornick stole the show, orchestrating the Lady Indian offense with perfectly-placed sets, and keeping Tioga’s hitters at bay with quick reflexes that kept the ball off the floor on more than one occasion when it seemed the Lady Tigers had the point already on the scoreboard.
The main beneficiaries of Hornick’s passing were juniors Jennah Kareem, and Kori Strong, and freshman Shelby Swartz. All three are athletic and powerful hitters. Hornick herself can put the ball down when the opportunity arises.
Perhaps the key to the match was Candor’s ability to keep the ball off the floor. At least eight times, the Lady Indians were able to keep a ball alive when it seemed the point was over. Tioga was able to do the same thing on a couple of occasions, but in a close match those points make a difference.
Tioga junior Giovanna Rossi showed why she is one the top hitters in the area, blasting away from the net and the back row with equal aplomb.
Junior Bri Stoughton, who missed last year due to a shoulder injury, had a “coming out” party of her own against Candor, displaying the ability dominate with her hitting and blocking.
Junior setter / hitter Chloe Bellis also showed her versatility with her passing ability, and play at the net.
It’s a bit early to say definitively because these two teams meet again Oct. 12 at Candor, but those on hand Thursday night may have witnessed the passing of the torch in the IAC Small School ranks from Tioga to a young Candor squad.
The Waverly girls posted a big 5-0 win over Notre Dame Wednesday night and now have a leg up in the IAC South Large School girls soccer title chase.
With juniors Melina Ortiz and Cora Smith, and sophomore Gabby Picco, Waverly has three of the best players in the region.
And, Waverly’s defense, anchored by senior Wendi Hammond, has been stellar and will continue to give the Lady Wolverines a chance to win any game they play.
One key development in the win was the play of sophomore Tessa Petlock, who had two goals and one assist. The Lady Wolverines graduated a pair of 50-goal scorers from last year’s team, and have been looking for someone to step up and help fill that void alongside Picco. If Petlock is that player, it will make them even more dangerous in the postseason.
The Athens boys also posted a big win Wednesday, blanking Galeton 4-0.
The game was scoreless at the intermission, but it seemed only a matter of time as Athens pressured the Galeton net for the entire first half.
Early in the second half, Trent Neville scored from long distance to trigger a four-goal second-half outburst.
The Wildcats now own wins over Wellsboro and Galeton — the two main preseason candidates to unseat them from the top spot in the NTL. Wellsboro and Galeton play twice — five days apart — late in the season. Every game for both teams until then are of the utmost importance.
The Waverly boys dropped a 1-0 decision to Notre Dame Thursday night.
The Wolverine defense turned in a much improved effort, limiting Notre Dame to 15 shots-on-goal, which may sound like a lot, but considering the ball was in the Waverly end for 90-plus percent of the game, it’s not too bad.
Waverly’s problem has been ball control. Waverly, which did not get a shot off against Notre Dame, has just five shots-on-goal in its last three games.
They’re very young and inexperienced, and there will be more bumps in the road, but the Wolverines appear to be improving every time they take the field.
The Final Word returns in two or three days to follow up on the football weekend.
Print Friendly Version