by Rusty Ellis
The Gordonsville Tigerettes are rolling with postseason play around the corner, as they defeated District 7-A foe York Institute 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Kali Underwood gave GHS an early 8-6 lead with a kill in the first set, but Cali Franklin’s kill and Emma Cooper’s ace knotted the score right back up at 8-8. After some back-and-forth play saw both teams struggle to build momentum, it was an Emma Pile kill that gave the Dragonettes a 14-13 lead. Back-to-back kills by Underwood saw Gordonsville take the lead right back however, as the Tigerettes closed the set on a 9-3 run to win it 25-19.
The second set saw York get off to a 4-1 lead after a kill by Raylee Werner and a Franklin ace, and the Dragonettes pushed the lead up to 12-8, but Gordonsville stormed back and tied the set at 12-all thanks to a Kamara Young kill. York appeared to take control near the end of the set, as Josie Linder’s kill made the score 21-19 in favor of the Dragonettes.
After falling behind 24-22 however, Gordonsville scored the final four points of the frame and took a 2-0 lead with a 26-24 win in the second set.
York opened the third set with another fast start, this one of the 7-3 variety, but just like in the second, Gordonsville refused to go away and took the lead on a Kelcie Watts kill to make the score 15-14. The Dragonettes did manage to take a 19-17 lead, but another quick run by GHS saw them take a 21-19 lead and it was all Tigerettes from there, as they closed out the 3-0 sweep with a 25-20 victory.
While a 3-0 win looks dominant on paper, GHS head coach Brian Leslie says his team had to fight and scratch to earn this win.
“York has such an athletic team, and they make it hard for you to score on them,” Leslie said. “We did struggle a little with our passing, and a lot of that is due to their serves…even when we did handle their serves, they’re just so athletic that you have to do everything right just to score. So, that was a tight one.”
The second set was the closest York came to forcing an extra set, and with his team down 24-22, Leslie called a timeout. His message was simple.
“We just had to focus on the little things,” Leslie said. “We just had to get the ball back so that we would have a chance. We saw some things they were doing offensively that we wanted to take away, and I think we did a good job with it, at least good enough to get the win.”
Leslie talked about parity after his team’s win over Clarkrange on Monday, and as much as he’d like to win every match with no struggle, he doesn’t deny that matches like this do a good job of preparing teams for the postseason.
“That’s what it’s all about,” Leslie said. “I just got done telling them that (York’s) a team we will probably see again late in the postseason, so matches like these are good for that. Being able to pull it out in the end gives you confidence to do the same thing later when it really matters.”