ARCANUM – The Ansonia and Twin Valley South volleyball teams met for the second time this season on Monday with much more than just Cross County Conference pride at stake.
This time the winner would advance to round two of the Ohio High School Athletic Association Division IV tournament. After four grueling sets in which the girls left everything they had on the floor, Twin Valley South came out the victor 25-23, 24-26, 25-21 and 29-27.
The Lady Tigers enjoyed the lead for much of set one. They led 16-10 and 18-12, but then the tide began to turn against them. The Lady Panthers scored five consecutive points to bring the score to 18-17, and suddenly it was now a game. Ansonia stretched its advantage out to three at 22-19 but would score only once more during the final seven points of the set to fall 25-23.
“Twin Valley South is an extremely scrappy team,” Ansonia coach Craig Riethman said. “They are very good at keeping the ball in play, using their quickness in the back row to their advantage.”
Riding high from its set one victory TVS came out strong in set two, taking a 5-0 lead. The Lady Tigers fought back to 5-4 before the Lady Panthers stretched the advantage back to 10-5, forcing an Ansonia timeout. The strategy session worked as the Lady Tigers managed to tie the score at 14.
South did achieve leads late in the set of 20-17 and 22-19, but the Lady Tigers, determined not to go down two sets, outscored the Lady Panthers 7-2 the remainder of the set to win 26-24.
With the match tied at one set for each side, set three would swing the momentum for the remainder of the match. Twin Valley South never trailed in set three. The score was tied twice at 3 and 4, and the Lady Panthers’ largest lead was at 13-5. Ansonia closed the gap to 18-17 but would get no closer as South took the set 25-21.
The finish of set four was as good as tournament volleyball can get. Ansonia once again fought back from an early deficit of 6-1 to tie the score at 7 and take a lead at 10-9.
The two teams battled back and forth and as Ansonia called the final timeout available in the set for either school the score was tied at 20. The score would also be tied at 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 before the victor would be determined.
Ansonia had two chances to extend the match to set five at 24-23 and 27-26 but could not convert on the opportunities. On South’s third match point the Panthers came through with the winning play to gain the victory, 29-27.
“We got down a little bit too far in a couple of games,” Coach Riethman said. “Felt like we were playing our way back. The girls laid their hearts out there. They put it on the line for each other. We just fell short … resilience … credit to the girls for playing as a team and coming together.”
The Lady Tigers closed out an extremely successful season with a 17-5 mark.