The Trumansburg volleyball team has been through a rough week.
Six days ago, district special education Matt McLennan, the husband of head coach Angela McLennan, died at age 42, and the team had to deal with that sudden loss and still try to focus on the most important part of its season. His death came less than 24 hours after the Blue Raiders suffered their first loss of the season, at home to Thomas A. Edison in the Interscholastic Athletic Conference Large School final.
After an emotion-charged Section 4 Class C quarterfinal victory over Waverly on Tuesday night at home, the Blue Raiders faced their stiffest competition of the season Thursday at the pool-play semifinals.
Trumansburg, which brought a 17-1 record into the round robin at Horseheads Middle School, lost to Oneonta 25-23 and 25-19, then were swept by top seed Windsor, 25-15 and 25-11. They were slated to play Edison later on Friday evening, but with no hope of finishing among the top two after the six rounds of pool play to earn a berth to Saturday evening’s title match at Watkins Glen.
In Game 1 against second-seeded Oneonta, the third-seeded Blue Raiders lost one of their top players, junior Hayley Sherwood, to a likely concussion after taking a ball to the head. It was an injury from which T-burg never really recovered as the Raiders saw their season come to an end one step from the sectional finals.
In T-burg’s opening match, Oneonta raced to an 11-6 lead in Game 1, forcing Trumansburg JV coach Scott Miller — leading the team in place of McLennan — to call timeout. The Blue Raiders responded by scoring five of the next seven points to cut the deficit to two, but could never pull even.
The second game started similarly, with the Yellow Jackets jumping out in front and T-burg reeling them in to stay within a couple of points. But the game changed midway through when Sherwood — who suffered a similar injury in last year’s sectional final at Lansing — was hit with a spike by Oneonta 6-foot senior middle hitter Brittney Herrick.
Sherwood lay on the floor for several minutes while coaches, officials and her parents tended to her. She did not return to action.
The point won on the play gave Oneonta a 14-13 lead, and the Yellow Jackets would go on to score five more in succession to take charge of the game at 19-13. Trumansburg fought gamely to get back in it, but wound up falling by that six-point margin.
The Blue Raiders finally took their first lead of the night in Game 1 against Windsor, but it was short-lived as the heavy serve of junior middle hitter Chase Moran turned a 9-7 Trumansburg lead into 12-9 Windsor advantage in the early going. Windsor kept pouring it on from there, building a 21-10 off of three consecutive aces from senior Libero Marisa Tubaugh and going on to a 10-point victory.
Windsor used an early 8-1 run in Game 2 to build an insurmountable 14-5 advantage and were never threatened from there.