GALION — “A pretty big win? It was amazing,” said an excited coach Jaime Valentine postgame.
Back on Thursday, August 24, the Galion Lady Tigers volleyball squad was in Marion to clash with the Pleasant Lady Spartans in what has become quite the rivalry within the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference. Sure, it was early in the season but drama filled the gym and it was the visiting Tigers squad that came away with the 3-2 victory. Since that point, Galion has had more ups than downs; losing just three matches in that time frame but not a single conference match. Oh, and Pleasant had not lost since that game.
That was until Tuesday evening when the Spartans met with the Tigers in Galion.
In front of the raucous home crowd, the Lady Tigers upended Pleasant in four sets; 25-22, 22-25, 25-18 and 25-22. The win means that Galion remains undefeated and atop the MOAC (8-0) and improves to 11-3 overall on the season. The Spartans now sit at 9-2 overall and 6-2 within the conference.
“The freshmen playing alongside the older kids, everyone stepping up…it means a bright future for this program,” continues Valentine. “Gillian Miller (a low-key sophomore for the Tigers) was an animal tonight, Kayla (Hardy) was very confident with her setting and the focus of all of these girls, wanting to win for the school and for one another, it’s exciting to watch.”
In set number one, like all four sets on the evening, Pleasant was the first on the scoreboard. However, Galion would not go easily and would use runs to prevent any sort of lead to become overbearing. The opening set would see eight ties throughout with the lead changing place three times. Thanks in large part to aces from Jaden Ivy, Kate Schieber, Hardy and Nicole Thomas, the hometown Tigers were able to pull away after tying the game late at 22 points apiece.
Set number two was a similar story, with the Spartans striking first only to have the game tied nine times within the first 20 total points. It was, however, the visiting Pleasant squad that manufactured the runs throughout the second set and, despite a late-game surge by Galion, would hold on for their only set-win of the night. Schieber would add her second ace of the net in this set and was joined in her serving prowess by Kasidee Sinclar.
All Galion in the third set as Pleasant appeared to be slightly off of their game. This set saw only four ties, with the last occurring at 6-6. At that point, the Lady Tigers went ahead 7-6 and maintained the lead the rest of the way to win the set and put the Spartans in a 2-1 hole, from which they did not recover. Hardy served her way to another ace in this set for Galion.
The most back and forth of the four sets came in the final set of the night. In that fourth set, the game was tied 11 different times and the lead changed hands on seven of those occasions. Errors on both sides of the net allowed the score to teeter between the squads but in the end, a kill from the attack of Samantha Comer earned the Lady Tigers the deciding 25th point to seal the victory for the home team.
Serving stats for Galion against Pleasant were: Team- 87/93, 46 points, 9 aces; Ivy- 16/18, 12 points, 3 aces; Abby Foust- 18/18, 10 points; Thomas- 17/17, 9 points, ace; Sinclair- 14/16, 9 points, ace; Hardy- 12/12, 3 points, 2 aces and Schieber- 10/12, 3 points, 2 aces.
Offensive stats for the Lady Tigers were: Team attacking- 148/168, 50 kills; Comer- 45/51, 17 kills; Marisa Gwinner- 36/39, 15 kills; Miller- 25/25, 9 kills; Ivy- 15/21, 6 kills; Sinclair- 24/28, 2 kills and Hardy- 3/4, kill; Team ball handling- 186/188, 48 assists; Hardy- 140/141, 45 assists; Ivy- 17/17, assist; Miller- 2/2, assist and Sinclair- 8/8, assist.
Defensive stats for the home team were: Team receptions- 65/72; Team Blocks- 7 solo, 5 assisted; Gwinner- 4 solo, 1 assisted; Comer- 1 solo, 2 assisted; Miller- 1 solo, 2 assisted and Ivy- 1 solo; Team digs- 112 digs on 134 attempts (22 errors); Ivy- 23 digs; Gwinner- 18 digs; Hardy- 17 digs; Sinclair- 15 digs; Thomas- 11 digs; Comer- 9 digs; Miller- 7 digs; Schieber and Foust- 6 digs apiece.
Up next for the Lady Tigers will be a road trip to Caledonia to meet up with the River Valley Lady Vikings on Thursday, September 21 to continue their MOAC run.
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