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Wellsville advances

Wellsville's Alana Amato (20) hits the volleyball past St. John's Emily Gruey (4) during a Div. IV district semi-final match at Lisbon High School, Wednesday. (Photo by Anthony Fiuza)

LISBON –It’s come to the point where Wellsville volleyball team, isn’t just winning, but it’s winning in style.

The top-seeded Tigers (25-0) bounced 12th-seeded Ashtabula St. John in a Division IV district semifinal, 25-15, 25-11, 25-11, at Lisbon High School on Wednesday.

“They got their eye on the prize. Our practices are more intense. They’re bonding more and they want to stay longer,” Wellsville coach Jonathan Stokes said. “Now the tournament has got them real hungry.”

Wellsville’s Paige Green thinks her team needs to start matches on the right foot, because the competition isn’t getting easier.

“I feel like whenever we start, we start sloppy. We need to pick it up right from the start,” Green said. “When you’re in the tournament, you get better teams. You don’t have time to take time off.”

Green noted that her Tiger teammates are tinkering with different elements of their game.

“We play this tip drill and it’s so intense,” the senior setter said. “Our teams are arguing back and forth. It’s really powerful. Our setters are always going at each other. We’re pushing each other and we’re trying to find spots that need improvement.”

Once again Wellsville showed it’s ability to roar back after trailing in a set.

The Fighting Herald (15-10) possessed a 6-0 lead to open the second set, but the Tigers responded by outscoring St. John, 16-2, before eventually winning the set.

“Our passes sharpened up. As long as our serve-receive is on, we’ll capitalize on it,” Stokes said. “We were a little off tempo and we’re good at coming back from a deficit.”

Wellsville’s Presley Stokes was a key contributor as she dominated with her top-spin serve. It got to the point where some St. John defenders looked stunned that the serve had so much torque.

“The top-spin serve is intimidating. It’s coming fast, sharp, and hard. It’s a hard ball to contain. If you can, then you can pass it,” Jonathan Stokes said. “Before she does the jump serve, I make her do jump floats and then she can start attacking them like that as long as she can keep it in.”

Top-seeded Wellsville will battle Jackson-Milton in the district final at 1 p.m. Saturday at Lisbon High School.

Game notes

≤ The Tigers have only lost four sets all season long.

≤ Jackson-Milton hasn’t faced Wellsville since 2019. The Blue Jays were swept in two meetings with the Tigers.

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