By Lenny Sementi
Senior libero Natalie Bates was on top of her game Thursday, Sept. 13.
Tuscola’s version of a human dynamo covered the floor like a blanket on the defensive side of the net and delivered pinpoint passing to Warrior setter Maddie Green. Green then distributed the ball to the Dean sisters up front and they responded combining for 27 kills in a three-game victory over Clinton in Central Illinois Conference action.
Bates ended the night with a season high 20 digs, feeding Green who in turn donated a career high 31 assists to the cause. The Deans were separated by just one kill as Green played no favorites finding the open hitter especially in a pivotal 26-24, third-set victory that secured the CIC win. Karli Dean ended the night with a season high 13 kills, while younger sister freshman Katie Dean checked in with one more delivering a career best 14 kills. Lexie Russo was also strong at the net posting six kills to go with a defensive effort that tallied nine saves.
Senior classmate McKinlee Miller posted a nice stat line, as well, accumulating three kills, eight saves, and a block to her credit.
Coach Lydia Miller kept the Warriors fresh on a hot night in TCHS gym by rotating her lineup early and often. Sydney Watson, Ashton Smith, Marissa Russo and Jessie Martin combined for seven saves, three assists, three kills and 15 service points off the bench for the Lady Warriors.
Bates was big early finding her way to three saves in the first 10 points of the match helping Tuscola to a quick 10-5 advantage in game one. Karli Dean was the first firing lasers up front killing three balls at the start of the match. Then Katie Dean went to work midway through the opening tilt, pounding home a pair of kills that ultimately led to a runaway 25-16 win in the first set.
Clinton fired back in game two despite big blocks by the Dean sisters at the net. The Lady Maroons utilized two five-point runs forcing game three with a 25-20 victory in set two. The third skirmish was a back and forth affair that saw 10 lead changes and never witnessed a lead of more than four points. Tuscola came out on top in extra time 26-24.
The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Sept. 19 edition of The Tuscola Journal.