CORTLAND — The heart and the effort were there for the Cortland girls volleyball team, but mistakes let their match with the Central Square Redhawks slip away in a 3-1 loss Thursday at Cortland High.
Cortland was led by Aliza McCormick (16 digs, eight kills, four aces), Kristin Rowland (26 digs), Molly Steve (14 assists, seven digs), Emma Hutchings (nine digs, five kills, two aces) and Richelle Montalvo (six digs, five aces, two kills). Central Square was led by Audrey Tetrault (20 assists, seven aces, three digs), Sophia Lamb (16 digs, two kills), Brianna Tennant (eight digs, seven kills, three aces), Jailynn Patchen (eight kills) and Fiona Ames (six kills, four digs).
Cortland held leads in every set except the fourth, but letting their leads evaporate the way they did made it feel like they never had a lead at any point. They were up 11-8 in the first set before a 7-0 Central Square run forced a timeout by Purple Tigers head coach Cheri Olson. That run was characterized by a series of unforced Cortland errors, including one dropped pass, two wide shots and a dig attempt on a shot that would have gone out of bounds, but instead resulted in a point for the Redhawks.
The timeout allowed the Purple Tigers to go on a 6-0 run to take a 17-16 lead, but passing and communication issues persisted, allowing Central Square to come back and win the set, 25-21.
“I am not sure why we’re not passing like we did,” Olson said. “We were literally passing everything to target. Digs, everything. It was perfect. That’s why we were beating (Jamesville-DeWitt), because we could pass everything they were throwing at us.”
The Purple Tigers started the second set on an 8-3 run before the Redhawks called timeout, at which point they rallied to take a 10-8 lead.
Three straight Central Square errors gave the Purple Tigers the lead back, but Central Square then went on a 10-3 run to put it out of reach and win 25-20.
Cortland won the third set, 25-23, but nearly lost it after being up 9-3, 17-8 and 23-19 before getting the last two points to break a 23-23 tie.
Central Square got out to an 11-6 lead in the fourth set, but Cortland remained competitive, getting to within 23-20 before the Redhawks won 25-20 to close out the match.
“Their heart is in it, and they’re trying really hard,” Olson said. “They’re just not recouping fast enough.”
The Purple Tigers now sit at 4-4 with seven games to go, but to be at .500 at the midway point of the season is an accomplishment in itself because of the loss of their most experienced player, Marissa Parzynski, to injury, and the lack of volleyball experience for the rest of the roster.
“We had a rough start to our season,” Olson said. “The second game we played, Marissa’s wrist was in a cast for the next six weeks. She was the leader, she was the only returning starter, she had the most experience. After that, we had to figure out how to get things done without the person we relied on, and we went on a winning streak. We had a lineup that worked. We beat J-D with it. That was amazing. Now we’re starting from scratch and figuring out how to win with what we’re not comfortable with.”
Olson feels that if they keep playing the right way, they’ll qualify for sectionals, which would be more than they could have asked for.
“They’re all good players,” Olson said. “I just need them to believe that they’re all good players and have some confidence. We have some good swingers. We took a day off this week because after Oswego we were deflated.”
ITC at Cortland, 6:30 p.m.
Homer at South Jefferson, 7 p.m.
Groton at Moravia, 4:15 p.m.
Cincinnatus at Marathon, 4:30 p.m.
Marathon at Trumansburg, 4:30 p.m.
Cincinnatus at General Brown, 5:30 p.m.
Madison at DeRuyter, 7 p.m.
Groton at Moravia, 6:30 p.m.
Cazenovia at Homer, 5:30 p.m.
Spencer-Van Etten at Marathon, time TBD
Auburn at Cortland, 3:30 p.m.
Cortland 2, Fulton 1
The Purple Tigers earned their first home win of the season thanks to two goals by Karamia Montalvo, including the game-winner in the 99th minute.
Cortland outshot Fulton 31-2 but were stumped by Fulton goalie Lydia Mirabito, who made several tremendous saves, including one on a would-be go-ahead penalty kick after Ella Quick was taken down in the box.
Dryden 7, Notre Dame-Elmira 0
Nolan Weik had four goals and three assists, Corey Matesanz had two goals and three assists, Ben Lee had a goal and the Lions defense prevented Notre Dame from taking a single shot on their way to victory.
“We moved the ball pretty well side to side today,” Lions coach Laszlo Engel said. “I really liked how we passed tonight. Possession was really good. END kept everyone behind the ball and did a good job of it. They worked very hard all game long. We had to find a way to score and it took a lot of time.”
Marathon 8, Odessa-Montour 2
The Olympians’ six-match shutout streak came to an end, but the offense more than made up for it with four goals from Braeden Morrison, two from Bryce Howe and one each from Connor Holland and Eli Hoyt.
Fulton 2, Cortland 1
Purple Tigers coach Luke Schweider felt his team outplayed Fulton, but a goal by Caden Albright and four saves by Scott Hourigan were not enough to stave off the loss.
“We had our opportunities, we just needed to take care of the ball in the attacking third,” Schweider said. “We worked hard and played well as a team. We are focused on fixing what we need in order to get better moving forward.”