Volleyball: “30 For 30,” Gator style

In ESPN parlance, “30 For 30” refers to a series of documentaries marking the sports superpower’s 30th birthday. But in Port Allegany, those numbers have an alternate meaning right now – chronicling the dominance of the Gator volleyball team.

Building off last Tuesday’s signature win over Coudersport in a showdown of North Tier League unbeatens, Port High held serve in its next two matches, overwhelming Northern Potter and Austin to move to 10-0 (9-0 NTL).

That’s 10 straight-set sweeps – 30 wins in 30 regular-season games for coach Sharon Daniels’ club, with only Oswayo Valley (once) and Coudy (twice) managing to crack the 20-point barrier against the Gators. What’s the difference this year?

“I think the attitude of the girls,” Daniels said. “They’re motivated to push to win. Not only do we have the big goal of winning the match, but we’ve got a lot of smaller goals to reach that goal: Winning the game, winning the match. I think that’s the difference. That’s what we’re doing at practice as well.”

Last Thursday, Port hit the road east, coming back from Northern Potter with a 25-10, 25-9, 25-18 win.

“Once again, a very nice team effort with Rachel Taylor (19 kills, nine blocks, four aces among 12 service points) leading the offensive attack,” Daniels wrote. “She and Becca Culver (five service points, five kills, four blocks) played very smart defense at the net. Ashley Woodruff (three kills, 12 digs) stepped up her defensive effort in the back row. Jenny Shelley (22 assists, five service points, two kills) was solid on both offense and defense. The consistent passing of Kris Ann Raymo and Becky Andrus (10 service points, 16 digs) allowed us the opportunity to run a more varied offense.”

On Tuesday, the Gators efficiently dispatched Austin, sending the Panthers home with a 25-5, 25-6, 25-11 loss.

“Jenny Shelley (27 service points including nine aces, 30 assists, three kills) certainly made her presence known tonight,” Daniels wrote. “She served aggressively all three matches and spread out our offense giving us a much more balanced attack. Rachel (11 service points, three aces, 11 kills) served flawlessly and was, as always, central to our offense. Becca Culver (eight kills) was especially aggressive at the net and she and Rachel played excellent defense. Becca Lathrop and Ashley Woodruff combined for 12 kills, giving us a nice mix on the outside. Again, Kris Ann Raymo and Becky Andrus set up our offense with crisp passes from the back.”

Port swings back into action tonight with a trip to Otto-Eldred, then returns home for matches against Smethport and Cameron County next week.


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