IAC VOLLEYBALL: WAVERLY FALLS TO RED-HOT CANDOR IN 3 SETS (2021-10-11)

BY TIM TAYLOR
Valley Sports Report
CANDOR — A pause in the season due to COVID protocols is not what the Waverly volleyball team needed prior to facing Candor here Monday evening.

The Indians dominated the first two sets en route to a 3-0 sweep, although the Wolverines hung around for most of the third set.

"They're doing a great job," Waverly coach Charity Meyers said of Candor. "They're definitely on the ball. They usually always are. They're a good team every single year, but we definitely weren't on our best game."

It probably didn't help that the Indians' confidence level must be high following an impressive five-set victory over previously unbeaten rival Tioga Friday night.

"I think they're just really excited to play and that really just got them motivated, not that they weren't motivated before, but I think that little extra bit of confidence for most of the kids just just believing that they can do that," Candor coach Pam Quinlan.

Between a 10-day COVID quarantine and the fact the Wolverines have only played two matches since Sept. 20, the odds of upsetting the defending Class D state champion were stacked against the Wolverines.

"I don't want to use the excuse of us being quarantined for 10 days, but ever since we've been back from that, the energy's not there that whole push in attitudes," Meyers said. "And it's hard because we don't have practices, because we have game after game. We have three away games in a row, so it's hard to get those practices in and even work on the different things now."

"I was hoping they were going to come back hungry, and we see spurts of it, but they need to, when they get behind, they need to be able to shake that off and keep pushing forward. We're not there, so we need to figure it out and hopefully we get some time to do that."

Strong serving and solid play at the net paced the Indians' 25-8 and 25-5 triumphs in games one and two.

The Indians built a 14-5 advantage in game one and Meyers called a timeout in an effort to regroup the Wolverines. It didn't faze Candor, which went on to score 11 of the final 15 points.

In game two, Meyers again used timeouts with the score at 8-1 and 15-2, but it couldn't stop the Indians' host streak.

The third set saw the Wolverines hang with the host team for quite a bit longer, then Candor slowly built upon a 14-13 edge.

With the Indians ahead, 17-13, the two teams would exchange the next eight points to make it a 21-17 contest, then Candor tallied the final four points of the match.

"They're strong servers, I think their serve receive, if you struggle with serve receive, and don't get a chance to get it our attackers, we're going to keep teams in the game," Quinlan said. "They started scoring on some of their hits and our defense struggled a little bit in that third game, so I think that might've been the difference between the first two and the third one."

The highlight of the night for the Candor faithful was watching Shelby Swartz chalk up her 600th career kill.

"She's been working for that milestone and she works hard every day in practice," Quinlan said. "She's one of the hardest-working kids and just to see her get rewarded and her teammates to be excited for her, that was pretty thrilling."

Even though Candor (11-1) has now won nine in a row, Quinlan feels her charges haven't peaked yet.

"I think we're getting there. We're definitely getting there," she said. "I see, definitely, growth from the beginning of the season, and even in the last couple of weeks. I think just really talking about every game and just working on fine-tuning things. I don't think we're quite there yet, but I think we're on our way."

Freshman Lillie Kirk led Waverly with three points and three digs, while sophomore Peyton Shaw had two points and two kills, senior Sydney Nierstedt had two points and two digs, and 8th-grader Brilynn Belles and sophomore Peighton Streeter each recorded six digs.

Junior Michaela Lauper had three digs and two setter assists for the Lady Wolverines, sophomore Mia Bakley added two digs, and sophomore Erica Ryck chipped in with two assists.

Waverly, now 4-3, returns to action Tuesday at Edison. Candor visits Odessa-Montour Wednesday.

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IN PHOTO 1: Waverly's Brilynn Belles. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.