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Jessie Martin sets up the offense for TCHS girls volleyball victories

By Lenny Sementi
To say seniors Jessie Martin and Kate Dean are in sync as the 2021 volleyball season winds down is an understatement. The duo connected thirty-seven times for kills in a three-match swing this past week. Martin delivered sixty-three assists on the week as the Warriors rebounded from losses to Shelbyville and Paris to open the four-day swing by upending a good Sullivan team to end it. 

Coach Lydia Miller’s squad was unable to shake off early runs by Shelbyville falling to the Lady Rams in Central Illinois Conference skirmish on Monday, April 12 in two sets 16-25, 21-25. Tuscola threatened to extend it with a late rally in game two after kills by Dean, Amelia Bosch and Marissa Russo but came up short. Bosch was tops at the net in the contest with eight kills to her credit. Dean followed with six kills and Russo ended her night with four kills. Martin fed the trio serving up a team-best 15 assists in the loss. 

Russo also donated on defense posting six digs but it was Hope Dietrich and Kendyl Ring leading the way in the back row each adding double-digit saves to their season totals. Dietrich found her way to 15 in the match, diving three times late in game two to keep the ball alive while Ring checked in with 12 digs to her credit. 

Martin and Dean shined the next night at home in a three-game war with a very talented Paris team. The teams traded serves and points throughout the first set with the Lady Tigers winning the final rally posting a 20-25 win. Martin set Dean five times in that game but in game two she found her nine times in a dominating 25-12 win forcing a deciding third set. Ring appeared to be everywhere on defense collecting a few floor burns on her way to a match-high 15 digs. She also had two key kills in the second set and delivered two aces while fueling a five-point service run. 

Game three was déjà-vu with the two teams trading short runs until the visitors from the east pulled away late with a pair of four-point swings securing the final set and the match with a 19-25 win. Martin was huge posting a match, season and career-high 28 assists and also added to her totals in the backcourt with a team-high 12 saves. Reagan Wyrich was next in line with 11 digs, followed by Dietrich with ten and Laney Cummings with five. Dean loomed large at the net kill posting a career-best 18 kills in the contest. Bosch was next in the kill column with five, followed by Ring with three and Russo chipped in a pair.                                               

Tuscola bounced back on their home floor two nights later on Thursday finishing their CIC campaign with a 4-3 record while improving to 7-8 overall thanks to a three set win over Sullivan 25-11, 15-25, 25-18. Martin was again strong, accumulating 20 assists in the match sharing the wealth upfront finding seven different Ladies in black and gold for kills. Dean was at the head of the class with ten kills, Bosch was next with eight, then Laney Cummings with three, followed by four others. 

Dean seemed to do it all energizing runs in both games one and three posting aces in both on her way to a match and season-best five aces. She also blocked four Lady Redskins at the net, dug out a pair of saves and even set a pair of kills. Speaking of season-bests, Ring checked in with 16 digs out of the backcourt. Martin hit the double-digit plateau in the same stat posting ten digs while Cummings and Wyrich. Bosch and Russo served up a combined seven aces, and ten digs.

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