Tigers rally to edge Tamaqua
Tamaqua’s Caroline Balogach (left) and Northwestern’s Samantha McGinley battle at the net during Wednesday’s volleyball match. NANCY SCHOLZ/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS.
The Tamaqua girls’ volleyball team pushed every button it could on Wednesday evening at Northwestern.
But it wasn’t enough.
That’s because the Tigers kept finding a way to crawl out of “Death Valley.”
By the time nightfall had hit Northwestern’s campus, the hosts were opening up their season with a 3-2 non-league victory.
Despite Tamaqua continually jumping out to early leads, Northwestern refused to roll over and die. The Tigers came back to life more times than one of those Walking Dead creatures on the AMC channel.
“They battle, they play with so much energy and the results show,” said a gleaming Northwestern Lehigh coach Alexandra Ashburne. “I mean we have a lot of positives in our approach. Yes we fell behind, but the way this team responds, you can’t get excited and think we’re out of it.”
Watching the Tigers play last night was sort of like waiting for an Uber driver to arrive — you know they are coming, but you just don’t how long it will take to show up.
The Tigers showed late on every single set from start to finish. They trailed 19-14 in the first before rallying for a 25-21 decision.
After dropping the second set 25-20, Northwestern looked dead in the water in set three falling back 20-16. But it let loose with a huge rally to post the final nine points for a 25-21 decision.
Much to Tamaqua’s credit, it rallied in the fourth set to claim a 25-19 decision and set the stage for a winner-take-all fifth set.
Once again, the Tigers didn’t make it easy as they fell behind 10-6. But behind the serving of Erin Vance and the net play and spikes of Shante Duminie, they rallied for a 17-15 victory
“Shante can carry us on offense, she showed it a couple of times,” said Ashburne. “We also got quality play out of Jovina (Fager) and Samantha (McGinley).”
Tamaqua more than held its own and had a chance to win every set. The Blue Raiders rode the standout play of Ella McLaughlin, more so when she was serving and playing the back line. There were also huge efforts by Emily Amershek and Caroline Balogach.
“As a whole, I thought we were pretty solid,” said Tamaqua coach Emile Baker. “Yeah, we left leads slip away, but I know we’re going to get better from a match like this. We’re capable of scoring points, and our young freshmen will make us better when they get more experience.”
HIGH NOTES… Northwestern’s Grace Shuhay had a big night with 16 digs from her Libero spot, with Duminie, McGinley and Fager leading the winners in kills with 13, 10 and nine, respectively. Morgan Houser had a sterling night for Tamaqua, as did Brynn Gigli.
SWEEP… The Tigers had the broom out with a 2-0 win in the JV contest.