BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
WINDSOR - Owego needed its "A" game when it faced Windsor for the STAC championship here Saturday morning. Unfortunately for the Indians, they just were not able to get things clicking on all cylinders in a 3-1 loss to the Black Knights.
Even though Windsor took three of four sets, each was a battle. The Knights won the first, 25-21, but the Indians would tie the match by the same score in game two. The third game was also 25-21 and then Windsor rallied in the fourth set to squeak out a 25-23 win.
"I think that we had a couple of key kids come in struggling," said Owego head coach Brittney Race. "We struggled rallying around that, and when some of our bigger players are a little bit off we try to make up for it and we couldn't. We couldn't make up for it, what they are normally doing for us."
The Knights were on fire at the onset of the match. They built an 8-1 advantage and look like they would dominate game one. However, Owego was able to battle back, closing the gap to 10-8 with a 5-point run. Windsor would build its lead back up to six at 19-13, but the Indians fought back again, closing the gap to 21-19, only to have the Knights score the next three points.
Owego struck quickly in game two for a 2-0 lead, but couldn't pull away, although it did work a 17-12 advantage. One of Windsor's senior captains, McKenna Corbin, would serve up a 6-0 run that included a trio of service receive errors, to put the home team on top, 18-17. It wouldn't last long as then Indians, leading by one, scored the final three points.
The Knights grabbed the early lead in the third set and worked a couple of 5-point lead midway through the game, then pushing their advantage to 23-17. However, big hits by Kaylee Kelly, Ruby Coleman and Grace Thomas chopped the margin to 23-21. And that's where the Indians stalled.
Needing a win in game four, Owego slipped behind early, 4-1, but battled back to tie the game at four on a Coleman ace. Windsor would forge ahead, 10-6, only to see the Indians rally back continuously to tie things up at 16, and eventually take 22-20 lead. That's when the Knights regrouped behind a pair of big plays from senior captain Jaylen Bennett and a key kill from Mackenzie Williams to make it 24-22. Windsor would turn the ball over with a net serve, but would salvage the win on an Owego miscue.
"Windsor is solid. We knew that," Race said. "We lost to them earlier in the season. We beat them here at their tournament. I think we're very comparable as long as we show up to play. They're a great team."
Thomas handed out 41 assists for Owego (13-2) and had 13 digs, two kills and a block. Kelly had 12 digs, 12 kills, two assist, a block and an ace; Mackenzie Struble recorded seven kills and 20 digs; Annika Kinney contributed 17 digs; Ruby Coleman chipped in with 12 kills, nine digs, two blocks and two aces; Evee Coleman had 10 kills, two blocks and a dig; Sara Zepkowski added four kills and two blocks; Bianca DaVita had nine digs; and Taylor Aubel added one dig
For Windsor (15-0), Corbin dished out 34 assists and also had three blocks and two aces. Williams had 16 kills, Alexis Hendrickson added 17 digs and two aces, and Nicole Rose contributed 11 kills.
The two teams will meet again in Section IV Class B pool play Thursday at Owego, and quite possibly next Saturday in the championship match at Corning.
IN PHOTO 1: Owego's Sara Zepkowski. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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