IAC VOLLEYBALL: CANDOR RALLIES PAST TIOGA IN 5-SET THRILLER (2021-10-08)

Tioga County Sports Report
CANDOR — Tioga and Candor have had some thrilling volleyball matches and Friday night's IAC South Small School showdown was no exception. The host Indians outlasted the Tigers, 3-2, in their second two-hour marathon of the season.

Barring any future upsets, the outcome also set up a tie-breaker match later in the season to determine who will play for the IAC Small School championship.

Candor opened the match with a 25-18 win, but the Tigers rallied to capture game two, 25-14 and game three, 25-23. However, the Indians were able to regroup to take game four, 25-13, and game five, 25-16.

"We were on a roller coaster," said Tioga coach Des Ford. "We never got off it the whole night. Candor, kudos to them. I thought they played great, smart volleyball to beat us, and they did. And like I said, we were in chaos. We were on a roller coaster, whatever you want to call it, and we just stayed on that ride and couldn't get off. We missed too many serves."

"You know, it's always just a great battle," Candor coach Pam Quinlan said. "Both highly disciplined teams, I think, that really work hard to play the game the way it's meant to be played and just not holding back, going all out for every ball and just trying to make the best out of every ball that comes on their side of the court."

Not only did Tioga struggle with the serves, but the Indians' play at the net has improved since the first meeting.

"We've been working on that and we've been talking about that needs to be a vital part of our defense, to make hitters have to hit around it, to keep hitters from just being able to go all out against our defense," Quinlan said.

In the first set, the rivals were tied seven times in the early going, the last at 10 apiece. From there the Indians would go on a 5-point run and would never trail again, but would never lead by more than five until scoring the final three points. Tioga closed the gap to 19-17 at one point, but the home team scored six of the final seven points.

The second set started out as another tight battle and again was tied eight times early the last at 12-12. This time, however, the Tigers worked a 13-12 edge and pulled away behind an 11-2 run.

Game three again brought a close duel in the early stages before Tioga went on a 5-point run for an 8-3 lead. The teams split the next eight points, but Candor would chip away at the lead an eventually knot the score at 16 apiece. They were also tied at 17 and 18, but the Tigers worked a 2-point edge at 20-18, and held the lead to the end to take a 2-1 advantage in the match.

Candor dominated the fourth set early as Brooke Wilcox served the Indians to a 6-0 cushion and Tioga never got closer than 9-5 and led by as much as 13 at 22-9.

The final set weighed in Tioga's favor early as it built a 7-3 lead on a 4-point burst. The Indians battled back and eventually tied the score at 11, the worked their way in front, 14-11.

The Tigers trimmed the lead to 15-14, but Candor went on a 5-point roll and Tioga never recovered.

"I was impressed with the way they played, Candor," Ford said. "They played to get the win and they got the win and they really did a nice job on their offense.

"Again, it's that roller coaster, and they're kids. I told him they've got to think about it over the weekend and we've got to come in Tuesday ready to start working."

The Indians received a triple double from from Shelby Swartz which included 21 kills, 22 digs and 12 service points, as well as one block. Brooke Wilcox handed out 34 assists, and had nine service points, two aces, one block assist and seven digs; and Janelle Marsh recorded 13 service points, including five aces.

Isabel Makie scored nine points, and had two aces, nine kills and 14 digs; Addie Aman posted nine service points and 17 digs; Grace Handy had eight kills and one block assist; and Anna Greeno served nine points for Candor.

Julia Bellis had a double-double for the Tigers, registering 13 kills and 25 digs, and she also served five points. Molly Bombard recorded a double-double as well with 18 assists and 10 digs, along with eight points and an ace. Hailey Browne made it three double-doubles with 14 points, three being aces, an 11 digs.

Also for Tioga, Nina Spano notched 13 kills, five digs and one assist; Lily Mesler dished out 14 assists and added seven digs; Austyn Vance chipped in with six points, two aces, a kill and six digs; Mariah Nichols had seven blocks, three kills, two digs an a point; Reese Howey added eight kills, 15 digs, three blocks, three points and an assist; and Kyra Bailey tacked on eight points.

"I think we're just two teams that enjoy playing each other and know that each time we play, it's going to be a battle," Quinlan added. "I think it's fun. I think a lot of the fans would agree that it's a fun game to watch."

Candor (9-1) hosts Waverly Monday and Tioga (9-1) hosts Odessa-Montour Thursday.

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IN PHOTO 1: Candor's Addie Aman. ... PHOTOS BY TIM TAYLOR.