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Valley Sports Report
CANDOR - Waverly came into Monday's regular season finale looking to end Candor's 35-match regular season winning streak, while clinging to hopes of retaining its IAC South Large School title.

Newark Valley would actually clinch the division championship with a sweep over Odessa-Montour while the Candor-Waverly match was still in progress then, shortly afterward, the Indians would extend their streak to 36 with a 3-0 victory over the Wolverines. The scores were 25-17, 25-18 and 25-15.

Candor clinched the South Small School last week and this victory capped a second consecutive 16-0 regular season.

"I'm pleased with the girls," said Candor head coach Pam Quinlan. "They've earned it. They worked hard in practice. They push each other. They take it one game at a time and I think they're really starting to keep their level of play up. They're just a great group of kids."

Waverly would put up a fight in each set, but Candor would eventually pull away.

"We knew they were going to be a tough team," said Waverly head coach Kesha Sinsabaugh. "There's no doubt about it and after that first game we played them it was going to be good either way, so I'm not severely disappointed.

"Serve-receive was critical. We couldn't hit the ball and we had probably more hitting errors tonight than I've seen in a long time, and that doesn't help with only having three games; having more hitting errors probably than in five games."

In the opening game, the Wolverines grabbed an early 5-2 advantage, but Candor would rally with seven straight points. The Indians would eventually extend their lead to 19-12, but Waverly would trim it back to 2016 before Candor scored five of the last six points.

Game two saw the Indians take the 5-2 lead, only to have it slip away as Waverly came back with four straight points for a 6-5 edge. The Wolverines were unable to build a gap larger than three points and Candor eventually rallied to go up, 13-12, on consecutive aces by Shelby Swartz. Waverly would tie the set at 13, but Candor scored 12 of the final 17 points.

In the final set, the Indians jumped out to a 7-2 lead, but couldn't build a margin larger than six points until a 4-0 run gave them a 19-10 advantage.

Sinsabaugh saw some strong play out of her charges at times, but referenced the "stupid roller coaster that we need to get off of and just stay on that uphill battle.

"Hopefully, going into sectionals, we can keep moving. We didn't need this game to go to sectionals."

Quinlan likes the direction the Indians are heading.

"We're starting to kind of put a lot of those little things, not necessarily the main components, but those little components on those plays that don't really go maybe the way you thought they were going to go," she said. "(They're) able to pull out some plays, able to still keep control of the ball, even when it doesn't go where you want it to.

"They talk a lot on the court. I hear a lot of good conversation going on about the game and I think they kind of talk about what happened, and when that situation happens again they do something different."

Maddy Goodwin came away with 12 digs for Waverly, which finished the regular season with a 10-6 record. Chloe Croft handed out 11 assists, Paige Lewis contributed seven kills and 10 digs, and Morgan Adams added six points and three blocks.

Braelyn Hornick posted a rare triple-double for Candor (16-0). She dished out 24 assists, had 10 digs and served up 14 points, including three aces. She also had one block.

Jennah Kareem registered 13 kills, and Shelby Swartz chipped in with six service points, including three aces, five kills and five digs. Megan Henry had five service points, including two aces, and seven kills. Asia Curkendall had service points, Selah Ray had four kills and an assist, and Kori Strong added an assist.

Waverly will have a long break before sectional play begins Nov. 4. That could be both positive and negative for the Wolverines, according to Sinsabaugh.

"I'm hesitant," she said. "It's both good and bad. I think the break is good. It's a long break. I would say this whole week would have been sufficient enough to take off. Usually, we're done Wednesday and playing the next Monday. It's never been this long. It's slightly annoying, but I told them they need to just rest, relax, cure any injuries that we currently have and, hopefully, we can come back well-rested after two weeks with a new mindset ready to just push through the whole tournament."

The Indians will play again Friday evening at TC3 in the IAC Small School Championship, so their layoff prior to sectionals won't be as long.

"I think it's going to be an advantage," Quinlan said. "We're also going to try to pick up some scrimmages next week. I think going a whole week or more without playing, and just practicing against yourself; you really need some competition from the outside, I think, to really ... continue to grow and to be prepared for that postseason, so I think playing Friday night is going to help us, and if we can pick up a scrimmage or two next week, I think we can head into sectionals on a good foot."

JV: Candor defeated Waverly, 2-1. The Indians won the first game, 25-19, and the Wolverines matched that score in game two. The final game went to Candor, 25-16.

Aubrey Ennis served 14 points with three aces for the Wolverines (8-8), and also had five kills and 17 digs. Michaela Lauper had 11 digs and five assists, and Taylor Hall added seven points.


IN PHOTO 1: Waverly's Chloe Croft. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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