Valley Sports Report for Penn York Valley


Valley Sports Report
CORNING — According to the seedings, the Tioga players were supposed to be off doing something with friends or family on Saturday, or just kicking back at home watching TV, or maybe sitting in the bleachers watching second-seeded Bainbridge-Guilford defend its Section IV Class D title against Candor. Instead, the third-seeded Tigers were on the court, competing for an opportunity to return to the state playoffs.

This year, however, Tioga was back in Class D, currently being ruled by 2017 state champion Bainbridge-Guilford. As expected, B-G won the championship match at Corning High School, 3-0, and by scores of 25-8, 25-20 and 25-6 — and the Tigers gained a little more experience to put forth next year.

Tioga couldn’t get things clicking in the first and third sets, but the Tigers did seem to settle into more of a rhythm during the second set and push B-G.

“We played with a different serve receive, which we did the other night, but we played with a different defense, which we had been working on,” said Tioga head coach Des Ford.

As for the lopsided losses, Ford figured it was a combination of things.

“Nerves, confidence. It’s mental toughness,” she said. “First, they’re high school kids. You look at them and, we’re on the sidelines, we’re not out there competing, and they’re looking at they’re down two sets to zero, and you’re coming up against a team like that, and it’s tough when they’re high school kids. To me, it’s like you dig deep, but they’re kids.”

Ford would go on to put the day into perspective.

“We got here,” she said. “A lot of other teams would liked to have been here. Candor thought they would be here. Was I surprised that we advanced? I was, but the kids played the other night to be here. They deserved to walk out on that court today. Do I wish their performance was stronger? Yes, and I’m sure they do too. So, unfortunate, seniors move on, but the rest of them come back.”

This season's Tioga roster sported just two seniors while Bainbridge’s line-up included four senior starters. Despite the outcome, the opportunity to play for a sectional title should be a plus next season.

“It definitely helps them, because the kids that came back to this, came back the last couple years with some big hitters at the net,” Ford said. “I think that’s been a big thing for them, to adjust, that they’re the ones who are doing everything and running the court, where for me, it’s been eight or nine years. I was blessed to have the kids I had at the net, but this is what I had for many years, was this caliber of athlete. So, for me it wasn’t different. It was trying to teach and make them understand that it is a normal thing.

Ford said her personal goal was to get to Thursday’s semifinals, which they did. And, with a one-game playoff over top-seeded candor, the Tigers advanced one step further than the coach expected.

B-G, which returned all but one player from last year’s state championship team, showed everyone in the gym why it is the team to beat again this season. Tioga struggled with serve receive at the onset of game one, scoring g the first eight points. Then, behind a few 3- and 4-point bursts, the first set was over quickly. The scenario was pretty much the same in the final set as well.

However, it was the second game where Tioga displayed confidence and determination. The Tigers would grab an early lead, but their 3-1 advantage turned into a 4-3 deficit. Just as quickly as they fell behind, the Tigers also regained the lead and went back on top, 6-4.

Again, B-G regrouped and went back ahead, and this time they would turn a pesky Tioga team away. The Bobcats boosted their advantage to 19-11 and looked pretty comfortable with the lead, although Tioga battled back and closed the gap to 22-19 before B-G finally closed out the match.

Chloe Bellis had two service points, both aces, a kill, a block, two digs, and she handed out 11 assists. Giovanna Rossi contributed three kills, four digs and two points; Madison Macumber had two kills, two assists, three digs and three points, including two aces; Kylee Ingersoll added a kill; Bri Rossi posted three digs; Shaina Franks had a dig and a point; Ari Manwaring chipped in with two digs; Katelyn Perry had four digs and dished out two assists; Emme Hall pitched in with three kills, five digs and a point; and Julia Bellis posted five kills, eight digs and two points.

Tioga finishes the season with a 15-4 record while the Bobcats move on to regionals at Tioga next week with a 17-0 mark.


IN PHOTO 1: Tioga’s Katelyn Perry. … PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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