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Shadyside spikes Central in 3

Photo by Cody Nespor Shadyside’s Macy Hendershot (20) bocks a spike from Wheeling Central’s Ashlyn Knight (28).

WHEELING — Shadyside volleyball fended off multiple Wheeling Central Catholic comeback attempts and came away with a win Thursday evening.

The visiting Lady Tigers won in straight sets (26-24, 25-17, 25-19) but none of the three were gimmees as both teams played some of their best volleyball.

The first set established the tone of the match as Shadyside watched a six-point lead evaporate before eventually prevailing 26-24.

With the Tigers up 18-12, Central coach Delany Denniston called a timeout to try and refocus her team. Following that break, the Maroon Knights stormed back, powered by a serving run from libero Gabby Leadbitter. The senior led the team with five aces in the match.

The Maroon Knights eventually drew even with the Tigers 20-20. At that point it was Mercer calling a timeout to talk to his squad.

“In that moment, it’s about being able to forget the past,” Shadyside coach Eric Mercer said. “We needed to just move on and continue doing what we were doing.”

From there, the teams traded serves back and forth, neither able to put together a run. Tied 24-24. Shadyside was finally able to string two points together and win 26-24.

After a dramatic and emotional first set like that, Mercer said it was very important for his players to quickly forget about it and move right on to set two.

“That’s on (the players),” Mercer said. “That’s something we talk about, but it’s on them to move past it and get ready to keep playing.”

The second set started as the first set began, with the teams deadlocked in scoring. Neither team took much of a lead until the Tigers went up 16-13 and Denniston called another timeout.

Like in the first set, Central came out of the timeout and immediately tied the game up a 16-16, however this time Shadyside was able to hold them off and go on a run of their own.

The Tigers would surrender sevre just once for the rest of the set, winning 25-17.

The third set began as another back-and-forth affair and the teams were tied as late as 14-14. A quick burst put Shadyside up 19-15 and the Tiger continued from there to take the set 25-19 and the match 3-0.

“I thought Central played great, it was a very fun game,” Mercer said. “I don’t have a bad thing to say about the way we played.”

Gentry Brown led the Tigers with 16 kills, followed by Macy Hendershot with 10. Caroline Mercer led with 37 assists.

“Gentry played great. She and Macy were swinging hard all night,” Mercer said. “Caroline did great too, I thought we all played very well tonight.”

Brown and Mercer tied for the team lead with six digs. Hendershot had a team-high five blocks. Bayleigh Harman had three kills, three aces and three digs. Paige Gorby stuffed the stat sheet with eight kills, two aces, four digs and three blocks.

For Central, Nicole Reasbeck led the team with nine kills to go along with four blocks and three digs. Leadbitter had 10 digs and Alexis Hood tallied 17 assists. Sydney Doyle, Kamy Conners and Ashlyn Knight all had four kills.

Shadyside improves to 6-2 and will play Fort Frye on the road next. Wheeling Central drops to 4-4 and will play Notre Dame and Cameron in a tri-match at Cameron.

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