Tioga falls in five games in state regional game
DEWITT, N.Y. - Tioga had a state semifinal berth at its fingertips, but let it slip away.
The young Lady Tigers led Section III champ LaFayette, 2-1, but the Lady Lancers rallied to win the final two games for a 3-2 decision here Saturday in New York State Class D quarterfinal volleyball action.
Longtime Tioga coach Des Ford said 2012 exceeded her expectations.
"I'm not disappointed at all. I didn't expect to be here," said Ford.
"I had to keep that in perspective," she added. "When you get here, you want to get beyond this to States (semifinals) ... that would have been the icing on the cake."
LaFayette won the opening game 25-19, but Tioga bounced back with wins of 25-20 and 25-15 to take a 2-1 lead.
However, the Lady Lancers reeled off a 25-15 win in the fourth game to even the match. Skye Schumacher's seven-point service run staked the Lady Lancers to an early 10-2 lead that they eventually stretched to 20-9.
"(LaFayette) was consistent in their performance for the entire five games and we were not," said Ford. "Again, it's our mix of maturity and youth."
"If we had carried the momentum from the third set to the fourth â¦ but there was a little letdown," added Ford. "I think the 10-point deficit took the wind out of our sail."
The two teams battled evenly throughout the fifth game, with Tioga's biggest lead coming at 5-2 and LaFayette's largest lead at 15-12.
Once the Lady Tigers railed to tie the game at 15-15, it was also tied at 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and 22.
With the game tied at 22-22, Schumacher played a well-placed dink shot to the sideline to give LaFayette the lead for good en route to a 25-23 win.
"Late in the game, we had a couple of crucial unforced errors and a couple of occasions when we didn't go after the ball that hurt us," said Ford.
Malley Bowen led Tioga with 18 service points, 29 setter assists, three digs and two kills, while Charlsie Bowen had 11 points, four assists and two digs, and Bry Godfrey added 10 points and team-highs in kills with 13, digs with 23 and blocks with three.
Erika Bailey contributed eight points, 10 kills, seven digs and two blocks for the Lady Tigers, while Natalie Burns had four points, seven kills, six digs and two blocks, and Kayla Mosher had five points, four kills and two digs. Donette Hutchison registered 19 assists, Kendra Lubertowicz recorded six digs, and Lexi Swagler had two kills.
The loss marked the end of the high school careers for a trio of Lady Tigers - Natalie Burns, Erika Bailey and Kayla Mosher.
"The three seniors have done a really nice job and it was nice having Kayla Mosher back in our program," said Ford.
"Natalie Burns has been playing unbelievable for the last three weeks and Erika Bailey has been steady all season," she added.
The Lady Tigers return 12 players from today's roster for the 2013 season.
"There were some rotations out there today where we only had one senior - the rest were underclassmen," said Ford.
"Bringing in those five (JV players) for the playoffs and having them gain experience in the program will be a big benefit for us," she added.