WELLSVILLE-Back and forth Wellsville and Southern went, trading blows during a marathon fourth game Thursday. When it was finally over, the Tigers emerged with an exhausting 25-12, 26-28, 25-20, 35-33 win over the Indians.
"We're all really tired right now," Wellsville senior Jayla Martin said. "It was very intense and well played. We came together as a team and never gave in."
The Tigers improve to 4-1 overall and 2-1 in the Inter-Tri County League lower tier, pulling even in the loss column with the Indians (5-2, 4-1).
"We found a way," Wellsville coach Dan McKinstry said. ""In each game, they maxed out and we maxed out. It was a lot of fun to be a part of."
McKinstry believed it to be the longest game point-wise in the history of Wellsville High School.
"I don't know of one that was longer," McKinstry said. "It was for sure the longest one I've ever been a part of."
"It was wild," Southern coach Daisy Davidson said. "I very proud of how my team fought. Both teams played with a lot of heart. You could tell they both wanted it."
During the fourth game, each team served for the game four times before the Tigers were finally able to prevail. Jayla Martin led the Tigers with 23 kills and five blocks, while Johnna Stoakes had 18 kills, Ashley Bennett had 15 kills, Shayna Hamilton had 52 assists and Angelica Scarabino had 13 points.
With the Indians up 27-26, Scarabino made dramatic save to help extend the game.
"We knew they (Southern) wanted to win so bad and we had to match their intensity," Scarabino said. "That's what helped us pull through."
"We staved them off enough and finally got into a rotation where Jayla was back up front," McKinstry said. "That helped us a lot."
In the late stages of the fourth game, the Tigers appeared to be well in control with a 22-16 lead. However, the Indians put together a frantic charge to pull ahead 26-25. led by Anna Sevek who finished with 13 kills and Abby Smalley, who finished with 10 kills. Hannah Brothers also had 52 assists for the Indians and Natalie Utt had 22 digs.
"Once those two heated up it was hard to stop them," Davidson said.
"We sucked it up didn't want to give in," Sevek said. "Hopefully we have enough to beat them next time."
The Tigers initially looked like they would have an easy time of it after winning the first game 25-12. However, the Indians fought back, winning a closely contested second game and setting the tone for the rest of the night."
"In all my years of volleyball it was probably the best game I ever played in," Martin said.
Wellsville travels to Lisbon for a tri-match with the Blue Devils and East Canton on Saturday, while the Indians host Waterloo Saturday.
With hot temperatures outside, Wellsville's gymnasium turned into a sweatbox, even with the air conditioner running.
"If we would have gone to a fifth game, I was really worried about cramps," McKinstry said. "I told the kids to go come, eat some fruit and get a lot of fluids in them."
"I don't think we would have had enough left if it went to a fifth game," Sevek said.
Southern won the jayvee game, 25-14, 25-13. Natalie May led the Indians with eight kills.