By Lenny Sementi
Tuscola volleyball team’s last season surge hit a bump in the road so to speak this past Tuesday the 16th. The Lady Warriors, winners of 14 of their last 16, traveled southwest to Windsor and ran into a roadblock. The state’s runner-up from a year ago, boasting a 25-4 mark this season, jumped out early in game one and never looked back sweeping coach Lydia Miller’s squad in straight sets 13-25, 8-25.
The Lady Fillies offense made it tough on the Warriors all night long forcing bad passes and limiting Tuscola to just seven kills on the evening. Both Karli Dean and Lexie Russo donated three kills to the cause, while Katie Dean added just one kill to her season stat sheet. Sophomore Jessie Martin led the way in the assist department ending the night with five to her credit.
Natalie Bates as always led the way in the back row on defense from her libero position finding her way to five saves in the match. Next up was Russo who checked in with four digs, while McKinlee Miller, Sydney Watson, and Marissa Russo each donated a pair. Katie Dean was big up front on defense disrupting the Fillies’ attack at times. The freshman blocked three kill shots in the two sets.
The two area heavy weights traded points early in game one thanks to kills by L. Russo and the elder Dean, but a five-point burst by the home team proved to be the difference in game one. In game two it was all Windsor as they ran away proving why they are one of the favorites heading into the Class 1A state tournament.
Tuscola falls to 16-10 overall with the loss and 4-2 in the league. The Warriors get to stay home for the first round of the IHSA post season. Tuscola is the second highest seed in the Regional and will square off with Georgetown-Ridgefarm in the lower half of the bracket. State ranked St. Thomas More will be looming in the finals. The Sabers are the top seed at historic TCHS gym, and the second seed overall in the sub sectional.
Coach Miller’s JV rallied from a first game loss to win the second set but came up short in the third falling to Windsor 11-25, 25-20, 24-26. It was just the fourth loss for the JV this season leaving them at 18-4 overall and 5-1 in the Central Illinois Conference.