LEWISBURG — After dropping the first set 27-25, Tri-County North’s volleyball team battled back for a thrilling five-set victory over Twin Valley South in a Cross County Conference match-up on Thursday, Sept. 14, defeating the visiting South Panthers, 25-27, 25-16, 26-24, 17-25 and 15-13.
“I’m extremely proud of both teams tonight,” South coach Leslie Roberts said. “We pushed each other like any good rivalry match-up should, and on this night, in this gym, under these conditions, the home team Panthers came out the victors. I have to give credit where credit is due, Melissa (Wilson-Stockwell) and her coaching staff have done a tremendous job working with their young athletes on improving each and every day. You can tell by the efforts of their athletes that they are leaving it all on the floor in practice as well as in their matches, and those efforts will pay off.”
With the win, TCN improved to 5-9 overall, 2-4 in conference. TVS drops to 6-5 overall, 2-3 in conference.
“Both teams played well,” Wilson-Stockwell said. (We) have been playing very hard but falling just shy of a ‘W’, but with hard work and drive, the ladies stepped up their game and their passion to push over the plateau to gain momentum and add to a highlight to this season. I am very proud of how the girls played and their fight,”
In the first set, North inched ahead, going up 12-10, forcing TVS to burn their first timeout considerably early. South managed to tie the score 12-12 coming out of the timeout. Then an untimely reversal of fortunes occurred and North was awarded serve.
Behind the serve of Cassi Stinson, North bolted out to a 17-12 lead, forcing South to call its final timeout to find an answer. The answer was found just two servers later when TVS junior libero Sidney Mowell stepped behind the service stripe, running off four unanswered points and forcing North to call its first timeout, up one, at 19-18.
TCN then answered with a side-out, but couldn’t build momentum. South’s next server managed to get South out to a 22-20 lead before an untimely missed serve. TCN answered with serves from Riley Cruse as she managed to string together two service points in-a-row to put North up 23-22.
After a side-out by South, which tied the score at 23-23 , North called its final timeout.
The battle continued point-for-point through two more servers before TVS Senior Mylan Crews mustered two points in-a-row to close out set one for TVS, 27-25.
In set two, the hometown Panthers squashed any momentum the visiting Panthers had entering the second set, jumping out to a 12-8 lead. South used both its timeouts, but couldn’t fight its way back into the set, with North taking the set 25-16.
The third set was back and forth most of the way, with TCN mustering a pair of three-point leads at 18-15, forcing a TVS timeout, and 22-19, exhausting South’s final timeout. Down the stretch, South managed to make things interesting but North held its ground to take the set 26-24.
In the fourth set, TVS jumped out to an early 11-5 lead, forcing North to call a timeout. South then put the set on cruise control and extended the lead to 24-17 before TCN used its final timeout of the set. South answered after the timeout with a good serve and execution of play to close out the set 25-17 and force the fifth and deciding set.
The fifth set started in much the same manner as set three, with both teams exchanging momentum and execution of play. The teams battled back and forth, point for point, tied at 5-5. TVS went up 6-5, then TCN took an 8-6 lead forcing a TVS timeout.
South’s first timeout was nothing more than a pause on the set play button as TCN came back out to go up 10-7 forcing the TVS final timeout to be called.
According to Roberts, her team went through a series of mental miscues ,but managed a side-out at 10-14 to get control of serve. South closed to within 14-13 and forced North to take a timeout. South was serving with a chance to tie, but its served sailed long, giving North the win.
“My girls didn’t give up in set four and I’m delighted at the fact that they wanted to battle it out and force it to a five-set dual. I want them to take away from tonight the knowledge and understanding that what they do in their lives, our practices and our matches matters,” Roberts said. “But, in light of recent tragic events in the county and around the country no one has any reason to go around hanging their heads. We all made mistakes, including myself, but there is to be no finger pointing. We learn and grow and become better teammates because of these types of matches that prepare us for even bigger battles that we must face as individuals off the court and as a team we must learn, grow and come together to support each other.”
On Saturday, Sept. 16, North was scheduled to play Dixie. On Thursday, Sept. 21, they will travel to National Trail and Saturday, Sept. 23, the team will host Dayton Northridge.
South was scheduled to host National Trail on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in CCC play and will host the CCC’s top team, Miami East, on Thursday.