Corry’s volleyball team claimed the Region 5 championship Thursday with a thrilling, come-from-behind, five-set win over a very good Harbor Creek Huskies team.
For Corry, this gets the team an automatic berth into the District 10 playoffs and this is the seventh region championship in the last eight years.
The first set was a back and forth affair with both teams giving up significant runs. Harbor Creek started the match off with a 6-1 lead only to see Corry respond with nine of the next 10 points, holding a 10-7 lead.
Harbor Creek responded, flipping the score to 13-10 Huskies, after which both teams settled down and played point for point the rest of the set.
With the score 20-20, Harbor Creek committed two consecutive errors (ball handling and hitting error) and Corry returned the favors with three of their own (service error and two hitting errors).
At that point coach Kelly Goodsel called a timeout with the Lady Beavers trailing 23-22. After a hard hit out of bounds by Harbor Creek, sophomore Tayler Elchynski went back to the service line and helped score a point (24-23) forcing the Harbor Creek final timeout, and then another tough serve by Elchynski put the Huskies out of system and Corry scored the final point of the set 25-23.
The second and third sets were very similar. Harbor Creek jumped out to sizable early leads (10-3 in second set and 13-5 in the third) and Corry just was not able to respond. The more mistakes or easy free balls Corry would give the Harbor Creek defense, the more confidence their offense played with.
At 20-10 huskies, coach Kelly Goodsel called a timeout and told the team “we needed to change the momentum of the match, the next 10 to 15 points, when they get to 25, we need to have scored more points than them to change the energy going into the fourth set.”
The Lady Beavers responded. Junior opposite hitter Miranda Nickerson got the team a point right out of the timeout and then Corry seniors Lindsey Mitchell and Ciara Davis both scored.
It wasn’t a huge victory, but Corry outscored Harbor Creek 6-5 over the last 11 points of set three and things began to change.
The fourth set was what everyone expected in a championship match, especially after the extremely close games a month ago when Harbor Creek beat Corry 25-23, 25-22, 32-30.
Corry held one two-point lead (2-0) and Harbor Creek held a one-point lead (6-5) through the midpoint of the fourth set. At 13-12 Corry, Harbor Creek took its first timeout and after a couple of decisive kills by Rachel Brady, Corry was up 17-14. Harbor Creek fought back to tie the score at 18-18 and it became a game to 7.
After several Harbor Creek errors, Corry led 23-19 and was hoping to force the fifth set.
Harbor Creek was not going to give up, scoring three consecutive points and with the score 23-22 Corry, a controversial call at the net was first called point Harbor Creek and then later was called to a replay.
Corry senior setter Allison Zaczkiewicz played a ball at the net that appeared to touch the Harbor Creek player’s hand before falling out of bounds, the referee called the ball out of bounds, point Harbor Creek.
After discussions with the down ref, the call was changed to a replay and Corry had a second opportunity, which they cashed in on. Brady and then Maggie Dow had kills to close out the set 25-23; forcing the fifth set.
Consistent all night, Harbor Creek jumped out to an early 4-2 lead and Corry had to respond. Nickerson had a kill and Corry scored the next five points on three kills by Brady and a service ace by Elchynski to stretch the lead to 8-5 and from that point, Corry maintained the three-point lead until Zaczkiewicz scored on a setter dump to make the score 13-9.
At 14-10, Harbor Creek missed its final serve and Corry won the thrilling five-set match.
“Honestly, I am not sure how we won that match,” Goodsel said. “We scored just enough points at just the right times in sets one and four to squeak out 25-23 wins and then in set five, I think our experience of having been in big matches (previous playoffs) was the difference.
“I thought Tayler Elchynski had a great night from the service line, leading the team with three aces (and 22 digs), but more importantly, putting the serve where it had to be to keep Harbor Creek out of their offense.”
Miranda Nickerson had four kills and a couple of aces, but more importantly, played great defense. Rachel Brady had big numbers, collecting another double-double, 21 digs and 17 kills.
“The three seniors played big — Lindsey Mitchell leading the team in serve receive, Ciara Davis with her swings in the middle, and Allison Zaczkiewicz with 34 assists.”
Corry captures the Region 5 Championship with the five-set win over Harbor Creek,
25-23,16-25,16-25, 25-23, and15-11.
Corry improves to 11-3 overall and 9-1 in Region 5.
The Beavers have two weeks before the postseason begins. Saturday Corry will host General McLane and the number one ranked team in the state class A – Clarion — in a tri-match.
Catch all the varsity action starting at 10 a.m. on The Corry Journal Sports Stream, a DeeJ Experience Production.