BY TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR - Candor began its quest for a Section IV Class D championship with a 3-0 victory over eighth-seeded Deposit / Hancock here Tuesday evening. The No. 1 seed Indians won by scores of 25-11, 25-13 and 25-19.
Candor was never in any real danger of losing this match, but the Eagles were determined to battle to the end. That became apparent in the second and thirds sets.
The Indians dominated the tempo of play throughout most of the opening set, while D / H held on a bit longer in the next two sets.
"Maybe nerves for them the first game," Candor had coach Pam Quinlan said. "I had some different personnel in the second and third game, just trying to give some kids a look at the ball, an opportunity to touch the ball.
"We were trying to be aggressive and sometimes when you're trying to be aggressive, you're going to make some errors. I think they played some balls back quickly and sometimes it takes a little bit of time to adjust to that."
Candor grabbed a 6-2 lead in game two and pushed the lead to 11-5 with solid hits and some nice serving by Jenna Huizinga. Deposit was still lurking in the shadows, keeping the gap at a half-dozen points until three consecutive aces by Braelyn Hornick pushed the lead to 19-7. The Eagles never got closer than 10 points after that.
Huizinga was at the service line in game three as Candor broke a 6-6 deadlock with a 5-point run. Deposit countered with a trio of points on Indian miscues to cut the lead to 11-9, but never got closer than two the rest of the way. The Eagles mounted a brief comeback attempt after falling behind 20-12, fighting to back to make the score 21-18, but the Indians regrouped and scored four of the final five points to lock up the victory.
Quinlan subbed a lot in the second and third sets, giving the more inexperienced players and opportunity to hone their skills.
"I think that's important," Quinlan said. "You never really know what's going to happen in any situation and when you might need somebody to be able to go in for a few points, so I like to give them an opportunity when I can, so if I need them in the future, they've had a chance to get in there and play some balls and touch some balls. I think all the ones that went in did a great job and made great pursuit, some good hits, some good sets, some good serves, so you can't ask much more from kids you're bringing up to join the group."
Those players, as well as the Candor regulars helped fill the void left by a missing start, Kailyn Edwards, whom Quinlan hopes will be back for Thursday's pool play.
"Hopefully, we'll have her back, because she's been with us, one of our main cogs in the wheel, so she'll be back on Thursday," she said.
Candor took control of the opening game from the start, racing out to a 12-0 lead with Hornick capping the impressive surge with a trio of aces. The Indians would increase their advantage to 15-3, but the Eagles trimmed it down to 17-9. However, the home team pulled together, closing the set out with a 7-2 run.
"They've been working hard all season, the hitters and the setters, to really click and get some of those up-tempo, quicker sets and I think when they find them, they're nice," Quinlan said.
Deposit / Hancock had some impressive performances too, from players like sophomores Ella Simmons and Haleigh Weyrauch.
"She was a hustler, had some good swings, very tenacious, I thought, and she went after a lot of balls," Quinlan said of Weyrauch. "I thought No. 17 (Simmons), there was some serving from her and some good play at the net. I think they were a scrappy team and kept some balls in play that maybe we had anticipated not coming back. Kudos to them."
Hornick had a big night for the Indians, racking up 20 service points, which included 11 aces, dishing out 20 assists and also contributing five kills. Jennah Kareem chipped in with six kills and eight digs; Shelby Swartz posted nine kills; Huizinga added eight service points, with two aces; and Megan Henry had six kills.
Haleigh Nugent had four kills for the Eagles (10-10), Trinity Crawson had three assists, and Kayla Scuderi and Abby Chase added 11 digs apiece.
Candor (19-0) will host pool play Thursday at 4:30 p.m. No. 3 Tioga also qualified, sweeping Delhi, 3-0, as well as the winner between No. 2 Bainbridge-Guilford and No. 7 Moravia, and No. 4. Oxford and No. 5 Unadilla Valley.
IN PHOTO 1: Candor's Asia Curkendall. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.
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