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IAC VOLLEYBALL: NEWARK VALLEY, TIOGA BATTLE THROUGH 5-SET MARATHON (2023-09-13)

By TIM TAYLOR
Tioga County Sports Report
NEWARK VALLEY — Newark Valley and Tioga battled through a 5-set IAC volleyball marathon Wednesday which lasted nearly two hours before the visiting Tigers prevailed, 3-2.

For the most part, neither team could establish any dominance as Tioga won an extended first set, 27-25, and the third set, 25-21. The Cardinals took the second and fourth sets, 25-23 and 25-17.

“This is our first loss, but this was definitely the most fun we've had playing volleyball this season,” NV coach Kelsey O’Donnell said. “It was just back and forth, super competitive, nice loud gym, super hyped.

“We had some really good plays and so did they. I'm disappointed that we lost, but I'm not disappointed in how they played. They all really stepped up and that was their second time having to go five sets.”

“It was great volleyball,” Tioga coach Des Ford said. “Great volleyball. Both sides. It was fun, exciting. I think both teams were excited.”

Game three was leaning in NV’s favor until a late surge allowed the Tigers to score eight of the final 10 points.

Tioga led game four, 15-13, but the Cardinals scored nine consecutive points to take control and force a fifth game.

“In the fourth set we slacked on our passing,” Ford said. “We went south and we had been passing strong all night.”

In the final set, Newark Valley scored the first two points, but an ace by RaeAnne Feeko tied the game. Tioga took the lead when Audi Zorn out-jumped Rosie Wandell by just enough at the net to give the Tigers the lead for good at 3-2.

Tioga then took advantage of two nice plays by Megan Vance and another from Joslyn Maciak, plus a few Cardinal errors, to build a seemingly comfortable 13-5 cushion.

However, NV wasn’t about to throw in the towel. With a couple impressive hits from their “big,” Cha Gardner, the Cardinals closed the gap to 13-11. That’s when Layni Whitmore shut the door, smacking back-to-back hits off NV defenders to end the match.

“I'm proud of the way they played and of course you always want to win, but what we've been dealing with for the week, I'm just proud of them that they could go out and do what they practice,” Ford said. “Again, they've been very flexible. They have each other's backs and that’s what I want. I want to see that. That’s being a team.”

Gardner racked up 17 kills for the Cardinals, and also had nine digs, four blocks and two aces while Wandell dished out 17 assists and had three digs.

Jenna Vosburgh had 11 digs, four kills and an assist; Joslyn Wright contributed 10 digs, two aces, one kill and one assist; Matthew Kasper chipped in with 10 digs, three aces, a kill and an assist; Michael Medina registered nine digs and one kill; Laura Ludwig tacked on five kills, an ace and a dig; and Rae Mathewson added four assists.

For the Tigers, Feeko recorded a triple-double with 19 service points, including six aces, 18 assists and 13 digs. She also had five kills and one block.

Kali Bailey added a double-double with 10 kills and 16 digs, along with four points (one ace). Lily Mesler contributed 11 digs, nine assists and five points; Lydiah Decker added 15 digs and three points. Whitmore and Megan Vance tacked on seven and five kills, respectively.

Tioga (1-2) hosts Watkins Glen Thursday and NV (2-1) hosts Whitney Point Friday.

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IN PHOTO 1: NV’s Laura Ludwig (14). ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.

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