By Lenny Sementi
Natalie Bates and her classmates have at least one more chance to play on their home floor, as the Warriors host the IHSA regional this week, but last Thursday it was their final time in TCHS gym in regular season play, and they didn’t disappoint. Bates, Lexie Russo, McKinlee Miller, Sidney Watson and Ashton Smith made quick work of the Lady Redskins from Sullivan on senior night sweeping the visitors from the west in straight sets 25-14, 25-9.
Coach Lyida Miller next season will miss the back row play and intensity the group brings. It was not a big night statistically for Bates from her defensive specialist position, but it didn’t have to be thanks to her teammates. Seven players in all found their way to saves in the Central Illinois Conference skirmish with Bates leading the way adding five to her season stat sheet. Next up were senior classmates Russo and Miller who checked in with four and three kills respectively. Watson donated to the cause as well scrambling to return two pivotal balls in the second set.
Russo was also strong at the net pounding home three kills in the match. Junior Karli Dean delivered up front also sending three kills of her own to the Lady Redskins side of the floor. Miller was one of the leaders at the service line for coach Miller delivering a pair of aces with her jump serve to go with nine service points.
Tuscola utilized early runs in both sets to jump out early and then settled in to secure the victory. Dean and Russo both killed balls at the start of both games, while Katie Dean altered Sullivan’s offense blocking three shots for points. Two of those blocks came in the dominating 16-point win in game two. Sophomore Jessie Martin fed the potent front attack setting five assists in the match.
The Warriors move to 17-10 overall and 5-2 in the CIC with the win. They will host the Regional this week squaring off with Georgetown-Ridgefarm in the semi-finals to start the post season.
The JV posted their 19th win of the year 25-10, 25-5 improving to 19-4 overall on the season.