By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola’s volleyball team fell for the first time in Central Illinois Conference action Tuesday, Sept. 18 on the road at Shelbyville. Coach Lydia Miller’s squad took the fight to the Lady Rams capturing game one 25-18. Though, they couldn’t close the door in the second set falling 25-18 then lost their first match of the year in the CIC falling 17-25 in the third set.
Maddie Green was tops for coach Miller in the assists department tallying 24 in the contest. The junior fed the dual threat known as the Dean sisters. Katie led all Warriors with nine kills, while her older sister added eight kills to the stat sheet. Natalie Bates was her normal self, hustling her way to a match high 29 saves. She also notched a pair of kills, an ace, and an assist in a well-rounded effort.
Tuscola got kills by both Deans early in set one running out to an early 10-5 advantage then cruised as Green, Lexi Russo, and McKinlee Miller had four kills late in the game securing the first set victory. Russo and Miller combined for seven kills in the match. Shelbyville used early runs in the next two sets to move in front early then held on despite big efforts on the defensive side of the ball by Tuscola. Green saved 8 of her11 balls in the final two skirmishes, while Russo found her way to 5-digs. Tuscola moved to 7-7 on the year overall with the loss and 2-1 in the CIC.
Miller’s squad bounced back quickly winning two nights later at home versus Central A&M. The varsity left no doubt sweeping the Lady Raiders 25-15, 25-17 to move above .500 on the season. Once more, Bates’ energy on defense and Green’s ability to find the open hitter fueled the offense. Bates, who secured 16 digs, passed to Green who distributed 16 assists in the match finding Karli Dean for seven kills, Katie for five kills, and Russo and Miller for a combined five more kills. Marissa Russo donated on both offense and defense pounding home two kills while also blocking a pair of balls. Sydney Watson patrolled the back row on defense finding her way to three saves.
Tuscola came out on top in JV action against the Raiders winning a grueling three set match 25-12, 25-27, 25-17 moving to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the league.