PHILADELPHIA — The Whitesboro volleyball team enjoyed its trip to Jefferson County so much that it booked another one for Saturday.
Whitesboro (16-2 overall) swept Indian River, 25-21, 25-17, 25-11, in a Section 3 Class A semifinal match Wednesday night at Indian River High School in a battle of Warriors. It’s the second straight sectional final for Whitesboro, which lost to New Hartford in last year’s final.
Whitesboro will face fourth-seeded Rome Free Academy (13-3) in the Class A final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Case Middle School in Watertown. RFA upset top-seed New Hartford, 25-18, 25-22, 29-27, 25-22. The rivals play together in the Tri-Valley League Colonial Division and know each other well.
“We’re 1-1 with them and we know we can beat them,” Whitesboro senior Riley Collis said. “We just need to be at our best in order to beat them.”
Maddy Moore totaled 15 assists, 12 digs and eight service points, while Madison Bigelow provided 11 digs, eight service points and six kills for Indian River (15-2), which had its 10-match winning streak snapped.
Sydney Carbone posted 10 digs and nine kills.
Whitesboro used its middle hitters and height to take the lead in the match. Players like Eva Quackenbush and Collis continually finished off points for Whitesboro.
“We tried to feed our middle players a lot,” Whitesboro head coach Kelly Lenard said. “I told my blockers to know where Indian River’s primary players are and to make sure they get over there and on them.”
The main strategy for Whitesboro was to find the deep corners in the Indian River defense and build a lead. Whitesboro also got out to strong starts in each set and made sustained runs thanks to its strong service game. Whitesboro got out to a 9-1 lead in the third set and it got plenty of momentum thanks to being able to build a huge lead.
“Getting that lead helped drive us to finish the match,” said Quackenbush, who is a senior.
Whitesboro also made Indian River fight for every point and draw out rallies. Team defense is something Whitesboro is known for.
“Even during and against each other, we don’t give up on a play until the ball is dead,” Whitesboro senior Kylee Decarr said.
Indian River coach Alyssa Sidmore said that her team hadn’t seen a lot of Whitesboro was doing with their middle play and blocking. However, Sidmore credited Whitesboro for its execution.
“We worked on trying to cover our corners and make our shots, but Whitesboro did it a little better than us,” Sidmore said.
Indian River achieved many firsts in the past two seasons, including its first Frontier League regular-season and playoff crowns.
Indian River also earned its first sectional wins during the past two seasons.
“I’m elated that our season went so well,” Sidmore said. “I wish we could have come out on top.”
SANDY CREEK 3, CINCINNATUS 2
Maiya Hathway supplied 19 kills, 18 assists, 13 digs and six aces as the sixth-seeded Comets upended the No. 3 Lions, 25-14, 25-10, 24-26, 18-25, 15-9, in a Class D semifinal at Cincinnatus.
Lizzie Glazier added 19 digs, 12 kills and four aces, while Marissa Brennan contributed 10 digs five kills and three blocks for Sandy Creek (13-6), which beat Cincinnatus for the third time this season.
Sandy Creek advances to Saturday’s sectional final against fourth-seed Fabius-Pompey (18-5) in a rematch of the 2022 final that the Comets won. The Class D final will be at noon Saturday at Case Middle School.
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