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Wellsville, Jackson-Milton advance

October 23, 2012
MICHAEL S. BURICH - Staff Writer , Salem News

LISBON - Wellsville's volleyball team wasn't feeling too well after it dropped the first two sets against Crestview in a Div. IV district semifinal on Tuesday at Lisbon High School.

Wellsville senior McKenna Pierson said she had spent just about the whole night up with a fever. That meant the struggle to a possible district final berth was going to be that much more difficult.

"I only had about three hours of sleep," Pierson said. "I was barely staying up in class."

The Tigers snapped out of their funk in time to dispatch the Rebels 22-25, 12-25, 25-21, 25-14, 15-7. Next up for the Inter-Tri County League lower tier champions (22-3) is district final match-up on Thursday with ITCL upper tier champion Jackson-Milton.

The Bluejays beat Columbiana in three sets in the night's other district semifinal.

"The first two games were really rough knowing we had to come back," Pierson said. "I tried to put (the illness) out of my mind, but at the end I got a little shaky."

Pierson finished with 11 kills, three aces and six assists despite having just enough energy to go the distance.

"I had hoped we could pull it out in three and go home," Pierson said.

Crestview (12-12) wasn't about to make it that easy.

Using a solid passing game coupled with solid attacking performances by Cassidy Ross and Brooke Harper, the Rebels had their say early on.

Then the momentum disappeared.

"Our passing kind of broke down in game three," Crestview coach Alisha Auer said. "It was a big letdown especially since we won the first two."

Wellsville coach Dan McKinstry said passing was a big problem in the first two games for the Tigers.

"We'd make a couple good plays then we would let the ball fall or run into each other," McKinstry said. "We finally got settled down in the third game. I told the girls if we could come out strong in game four and take charge, we would be all right. They're in uncharted territory. They're the young team and we're the experienced one."

Senior Sarah Skinner, who had 18 points, 11 kills, five aces and four blocks, stepped up with an excellent service game in the fourth set to push the Tigers out to a significant lead. It would be the straw that broke the Rebels' back.

"She really served the ball well in the fourth game," McKinstry said. "She opened it up."

Also for the Tigers, Shayna Hamilton had 33 assists, Maleya Fultz 10 kills, Jayla Martin six kills and two blocks and Brittany Clendenning three kills and four blocks.

For Crestview, Morgan Newbauer had 39 assists and four aces, Savannah Elwonger 14 kills, Alexys Brooks six blocks, Adrienne Huston 22 digs, Courtney Waters 18 digs and Ross 11 kills.

"I'm pleased with our effort this year," Auer said. "This is actually our first non-losing season in five years. That's good. We're turning it around."

The Tigers know the Bluejays well from their years in the ITCL lower tier together, so McKinstry expects the final to be just as competitive as season's past.

"We've played them seven times the last three years," McKinstry said. "We've won four and they've won three. It will be a battle."

Bluejays drop Clips

LISBON - Jackson-Milton didn't take too kindly to being beat by South Range in five games at the end of the regular season.

The Inter-Tri County League upper tier champions felt that was a wake-up call and wanted to use that experience to push forward in the Div. IV district tournament at Lisbon.

"I told the girls that it didn't hurt us as far as the league standings were concerned by any means, but I looked it as a positive," Prozy said. "We used that to start working harder and not to take it for granted because I think that's where we were starting to go."

The Bluejays took out their frustrations on Columbiana on Tuesday in the district semifinal, slamming the Clippers 25-10, 25-18, 25-12.

Jackson-Milton (21-3) advances to meet ITCL lower tier champion Wellsville on Thursday for the right to go to the Solon regional.

"We have a nice little rivaly and I'm looking forward to it," Prozy said. "I respect Dan McKinstry as a coach because he gets the most out of them. I know they're going to come here scrappy and hitting hard."

Columbiana finishes its season at 17-7.

"They were good and we didn't play our best," Columbiana coach Erin Heasley said.

The Clippers especially had trouble with Bluejay junior Erica Hughes who relentless attacks at the net created all sorts of problems for the Clippers.

"She's a very nice player and we've seen her for a couple years now," Heasley said. "She's a very heads up volleyball player."

Hughes had three kills and two blocks to close out the last five points in the second game.

She's a dominant force," Prozy said.

Heasley would not say who she thinks will win on Thursday, but she does expect a good match.

"At this point everyone is preparing for good teams," Heasley said.

"Wellsville is going to have to prepare like they always do and Jackson-Milton is going to have to prepare like they always do. When you get to the district final, everyone that's left is good."



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