Friday, September 23, 2011

Tigers tip Hailey spikers in league clash

Volleyball season hits crunch time

Wood River junior Lily Richards sets a point for the Wolverines earlier this season. Photo by David N. Seelig

In a tough Great Basin Conference league, the young and improving Wood River High School varsity volleyball team is on the outside looking in after Tuesday's home league match with the Jerome Tigers.

Jerome (4-3, 3-1 league) asserted itself as one of the top GBC teams along with Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge by taking a 25-23, 25-17, 22-25, 15-18 road victory over the Wood River Wolverines (7-12, 1-3).

Defending league champion and 2010 State 4A consolation winner Twin Falls (19-4, 4-0) climbed to the top of the GBC this week with three-game wins over Burley and Minico. Canyon Ridge (12-14, 3-0) stayed unbeaten in league Tuesday with a four-game win at Burley.

Wood River showed promise Tuesday, but couldn't keep up with the hitting of Jerome's foursome of junior Savannah Lott (13 kills, 6 blocks, 7 serving winners, 2 aces), senior Jasmine Branch (13 kills, 3 blocks, 7 serving winners), senior Frankie Carey (7 kills) and senior Melissa Leavitt (10 kills).

Junior setter Nichole Dally added 30 assists and 15 serving winners for the Tigers, last year's GBC tourney runner-up and a state tournament qualifier for coach Hannah Clark.

In Tuesday's first game, Wood River built a 21-17 lead but Jerome prevailed by scoring eight of the next 10 points. It was all Jerome in the second game after the Tigers surged ahead 22-8 on Lott's hitting. Dally had 11 service winners.

With Lily Richards (16 kills, 10 assists, 7 serving winners) and Kori Paradis (11 kills, 2 blocks, 13 assists, 7 serving winners with 2 assists) dominating at the net, Wood River bounced back and led all the way in the third for a 25-22 win. Jerome took the fourth game as Branch had five kills herself.

Other Wood River contributors against Jerome included junior Madi Hendrix (6 kills, 1 block), junior Taylor Bernston (4 kills), sophomore libero Mercedez Powell (6 service winners), junior Miranda Gasenica (4 service winners, 2 assists) and freshman Hayley Cutler (4 service winners).

In the backcourt, Powell was a tower of strength with her digs and passes—and junior Alison Gasenica made an incredible dig that led to a point during the third-game victory.

Wood River visited Minico Thursday, Sept. 22 and has a rematch with the Canyon Ridge Riverhawks Tuesday, Sept. 27 in Twin Falls.

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