The Trumansburg volleyball team overcame some intense emotion — as well as a talented Waverly squad — on Tuesday night to advance to Thursday’s Section 4 Class C pool-play semifinals at Horseheads Middle School.
The Blue Raiders, the third seed in the seven-team tournament, rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to advance to the semifinals, where they will join top seed Windsor, second seed Oneonta and fourth seed Thomas A. Edison. There will be six rounds of pool play, beginning at 4:15 p.m., with each round consisting of two 25-point games. The top two teams after the round robin will advance to the final, slated for Saturday at Watkins Glen High.
Class D pool play will also be contested Thursday at Horseheads, featuring the top four seeds in the 11-team bracket — Tioga, Harpursville, Bainbridge-Guilford and Sidney.
Just three days after the death of Matt McLennan, a long-time teacher and coach in the district and the husband of volleyball coach Angela McClennan, the Blue Raiders (17-1) outlasted the sixth-seeded Wolverines on Tuesday by scores of 23-25, 25-18, 22-25, 25-13 and 25-17.
Junior varsity coach Scott Miller, who guided the team Tuesday, said Trumansburg’s match with Waverly was difficult for all involved, given the circumstances. Matt McLennan, 42, was a former wrestling coach and coached modified volleyball at T-burg, and was a special education teacher in the district, in grades K-12.
“It was a very emotional night, not only for the players but for the fans, the coaches, anyone involved with this community,” Miller said. “And through all the negative thoughts surrounding loss, the girls rose to the occasion and were determined that it wasn’t going to hold them back. They were going to honor not only their coach but her husband by playing their game and leaving it all out on the floor.”
A moment of silence was observed before the start of the match in memory of McLennan, who was also the father of three young children. Blue-and-gold ribbons were handed out at the door for spectators, Miller said, and the team wore special white ribbons with hearts and the initials “MM” on them.
Anna Shelley led the Blue Raiders with 10 kills and 19 digs, while Hayley Sherwood chipped in 15 assists and nine kills, and Chloe Mount added five kills, three aces and 18 digs. Waverly (14-4) was led by Jordan Raupers, who had a match-high 12 kills and added 10 assists and 13 digs.
Top seed Windsor earned a bye into the semifinals; Oneonta dethroned 2012 champion Lansing in straight sets, and Edison scored a three-set sweep of fifth seed Dryden. In Class D, Tioga swept past Deposit in the quarterfinals, while Harpursville swept Spencer-Van Etten, B-G beat Candor in five sets and Sidney needed five sets to get past Southern Cayuga.
Saturday’s finals schedule at Watkins Glen will feature Class B at 3:30 p.m., Class D at 5:30 and Class C at 7:30.