Waterford sweeps Fort in volleyball

BEVERLY – Waterford and Fort Frye have both had successful seasons on the volleyball court this fall.

The Wildcats proved to be the better team Tuesday evening, sweeping the Cadets by scores of 26-24, 25-14, and 25-17 in the 2013 edition of “Digging for a Cure,” which raises money for cancer research.

After the way the first set went, it appeared the match would be a nail-biter.

Tied up at 7-all, an ace by Lexi Skinner and a kill by Megan Hesson put Fort Frye on top 10-7. Taylor Hilverding and Maddy Sury responded for the Wildcats with back-to-back kills to cut it to 10-9. A block and a kill by Taylor Pennock and two kills by Bailey Thieman put Fort Frye up 15-12 before three straight points Waterford tied it back up.

Later, tied up at 16-16, Haley McCutcheon recorded back-to-back kills before a block by Hilverding gave Waterford a 19-16 advantage. A kill by Natalie Smith and consecutive aces by Lexi Skinner helped put Fort Frye back on top momentarily at 20-19, but Waterford would tie it back up at 22-all.

The game continued to go back and forth, as Dani Drayer and Pennock traded kills to tie it at 23-all before Laura Hill and Thieman did the same thing to make it 24-24. Waterford finally was able to string together two points in a row, on a kill and an ace from Hill, to win the first set by the skin of its teeth. “I don’t what it is about our team that we want to start out a little bit slow, a little bit sluggish,” said Waterford head coach Jandy Drayer. “We’re fortunate to have good leadership and they can overcome it.”

The next two sets weren’t as close. In the second game, Waterford buried Fort Frye into a 7-0 hole, which the Cadets never fully climbed out of it. They did cut it as close as 12-11 before a 6-1 run by the Wildcats made it 18-12. Hill again finished it off with an ace to give Waterford the 25-14 set victory.

“The whole beginning, we didn’t get the passes to the net,” Coach Drayer said. “I felt like as it went on, we passed better, covered better, blocked better, and that’s frustrating for the other team.”

The third set had Waterford up 6-5 before a block by McCutcheon, a kill by Sury and an ace by Alyssa Miller capped a 7-0 run which gave the ‘Cats a 13-5 lead. Fort Frye was never able to make a run of its own as the Wildcats went on to win 25-17 to complete their second sweep of the Cadets this season.

“Waterford’s a good team,” said Fort Frye head coach Sam Skinner. “They come at you from every single spot on the net. They attack and they hit it hard. Sometimes we don’t hit as hard. We’re just not attacking as well (as Waterford).”

Team-leaders for Waterford were Hilverding with 11 kills and six blocks, Hill with 13 points and four aces, Miller with 35 assists and McCutcheon with 12 digs.

For Fort Frye, Thieman led the way with seven kills and three aces, Skinner had eight points and three aces, Alli Hesson contributed 12 assists and Megan and Taylor Pennock each recorded a pair of blocks.

It was the final game of the regular season for the Cadets, who finished at 14-5 overall and 10-2 in the Pioneer Valley Conference. Fort Frye begins tournament play Monday at Meadowbrook High School against Union Local in the first round of sectional action.

Waterford (19-2 overall, 15-0 Tri-Valley Conference – Hocking Division) will look to clinch an outright TVC – Hocking championship Thursday when it takes on Eastern at Reedsville in its final regular season contest.