GALION — The Galion Lady Tigers played host to their biggest conference rivals in the likes of the Pleasant Lady Spartans on Thursday evening.
Galion and Pleasant put on a great show as two of the better teams in the area — and the Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference — battled their hearts out. In the end, it would be the Lady Tigers coming out on top in the five-set marathon, rebounding from Tuesday’s loss to Bellevue.
In a playoff-like atmosphere, Galion won 23-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-15 and 15-12 to move the Tigers to an even 1-1 on the season and 1-0 within the MOAC.
“We knew that it was going to be a great game coming in,” begins Galion head coach Jaime Valentine. “There were some ugly moments throughout the match but then there were the moments where everything was going right and we truly played as a team…something that we didn’t do up at Bellevue on Tuesday.”
Things got off to a bit of a shaky start for both squads as each team saw their first service attempts result in a point for the opposition. After the opening-set jitters subsided, Galion and Pleasant were off and running. Down 22-20 at the tail-end of the set, Valentine called a necessary timeout to help regroup her troops. After Galion pulled the game even at 22 points apiece following the timeout, the Lady Spartans would go up 24-22 before eventually closing out the Lady Tigers to close out the first set with a 25-23 victory.
With the back and forth action continuing in the second set and eventually throughout the duration of the match, back to back aces from Abby Foust put the hosting Tigers up 20-15 at one point in the second which was the largest lead by either team at that point. Galion would go on to knot the showdown at a set apiece with the 25-19 victory.
The third set began with an ace from Jaden Ivy, one of her two aces on the evening. Pleasant would rally though and caused the Lady Tigers to call a timeout after they found themselves trailing by eight at 17-9. Galion would proceed to return the favor, rallying post-timeout to force the Lady Spartans to call time with their lead down to 22-15. The pause proved helpful as the visitors went on to take set number three; 25-16.
With the game on the line, Galion would hunker down and play above their youthfulness to capture set four by a tally of 25-15 to force a fifth and deciding set. Attack errors looked determined to doom the hosts to begin the fifth set, putting the orange and blue down 7-3 and leading to a quick timeout. Later on in that final set, the Lady Tigers found themselves just four points from defeat, down 11-8 to the fighting Lady Spartans. The next point would be possibly the hardest earned on the night as a lengthy volley eventually led to Galion notching its’ ninth point and proved to be the turning point in the match. A Nicole Thomas ace would bring the home team within a point at 12-11 and send the student section into a frenzy. Pleasant saw their lead disappear and called a timeout as the Tigers knotted the set at 12 apiece. Another turning point occurred that resulted in Galion capturing the 13-12 lead as the Spartans were called for a double hit. Unforced errors haunted the visitors and lead to two points and a match win for the Lady Tigers.
“Our team has some girls that are playing their positions for the first time and Brooklyn (Cosey) and Gracie (Groves) that are playing varsity full-time for the first time. Both girls came up big for us tonight and really got into the heads of the big hitters for Pleasant,” states the proud coach. “Brooklyn’s block in that final set I just know that it made her night because it sure made mine!”
Serving statistics for Galion were: Team- 80/90, 44 points, 11 aces; Kate Schieber- 15/15, 9 points, 2 aces; Foust- 14/15, 9 points, 3 aces; Kayla Hardy- 15/6, 7 points, 3 aces; Thomas- 10/12, 7 points, ace; Jaden Ivy- 14/18, 6 points, 2 aces; Samantha Comer- 11/13, 5 points and Gracie Groves- 1/1, point.
Offensive stats for the Lady Tigers were: 111/136 attacking, 47 kills, 170/175 ball handling, 42 assists; Comer- 23 kills; Ivy- 10 kills, 3 assists; Gillian Miller- 6 kills; Groves- 4 kills, assist; Hardy- 3 kills, 36 assists; Brooklyn Cosey- kill; Thomas- assist and Foust- assist.
Defensive stats for the blue and orange were: 75/85 serve reception, 3 solo blocks, 4 assisted blocks, 5 total blocks, 100 digs; Ivy- 30 digs; Comer- 18 digs, block; Foust- 18 digs; Hardy- 10 digs, block; Thomas- 10 digs; Miller- 5 digs, block; Scheiber- 5 digs; Cosey- 2 digs, 2 blocks and Groves- 2 digs, 2 blocks.
Galion will be back in action on Monday, Aug. 27 when they head to Sycamore for a meeting with Mohawk. MOAC play will pick back up with a trip to River Valley on Tuesday. The orange and blue will return home to host the Harding in another MOAC clash Aug. 30.
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