Knights christen new gym with a win

TORONTO – The Toronto volleyball team got off to a fast start in its volleyball match against Shadyside, and the girls from the Gem City did not look back as the Red Knights tamed the Tigers 25-10, 25-17, 25-12 on Tuesday.

“The match went very well,” Toronto (5-5) head coach Chelsey Fletcher said. “We put on a serving show. The girls did a fantastic job. Our main focus was our serve. I challenged the girls, and the girls were able to meet the task. They were able to meet the challenge.”

The match was Toronto’s first inside the new gym at the new high school.

“It means everything,” Fletcher said.

“This was our first match in our new gym. I am so thankful and grateful to everyone who voted for the new high school.

“I am proud of the girls.”

The Red Knights scored the first nine points of the match, and the Tigers (2-7) were not able to recover. Though Toronto finished with more than twice the total points as Shadyside, the Tigers got better as the match went along.

“When we played them down at our place, they were the three worst sets we have played all year,” Shadyside head coach Joel Joseph said.

“The first set tonight, we started out flat. Then, I thought we played some good volleyball in the second and third sets. We were in spots to make plays. We played some real-good volleyball.

“We are starting to get better. We are playing good volleyball more frequently. We still have a long way to go. This is only our second season.”

Individually for the Red Knights, Katie Spadafora finished with 10 points, 10 kills and five blocks; Amber Fuller recorded 25 points, six assists and three digs; and Miranda Robinson delivered six kills, five points, three assists and two digs.

Josey Jones scored 23 points, Chelsea Anderson added seven kills and four points and Emily Anderson ended up with seven points and four digs. Olivia Kosikowski collected one point, one dig and one block.

The Red Knights fast start in Game 1 came on the serve of Fuller. The Tigers got on the scoreboard after the Red Knights tallied the first nine points of the game and the match. Later, Toronto’s lead grew to 11 points at 12-1 and at 16-5.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points, 23-7, in the game before winning the game by 15 points.

“As always, these young ladies were thinking of someone else; we have a young boy in our district who was diagnosed with leukemia,” said Fletcher. “These ladies took it upon themselves to make and wear and orange ribbon with Noah’s name in support and dedication for Noah and his family. These ladies show their class in and out of volleyball. I want to thank the pep band for supporting the program and for so many fans attending. It was a banner night all the way around.”

The girls from Belmont County scored the first two points of the second game. It was the Tigers’ biggest and only lead of the night.

The Red Knights scored the next six points forcing Joseph to call a timeout. The girls from Jefferson County extended their lead to 9-3.

For a moment, it appeared as if the hosts were going to run away with the second game just as they had the first, but the Tigers were able to regroup and the Tigers began to scratch and claw their way back into the game.

Shadyside closed to within two points at 16-14, but Toronto tallied the next four points to build a 20-14 advantage.

The Tigers scored a point to make it 22-17, but the Red Knights collected the final three points of the game to win Game 2 by eight points.

“Shadyside has shown improvement each game and each year,” Fletcher said. “We have also improved.”

The Red Knights took an early 3-0 lead in Game 3, but the Tigers fought back to cut their deficit to 9-8, however, they were never able to get over the hump.

“We are not at the point where we can worry about what the other team is doing,” Joseph said. “We have to concentrate on what we are doing. We are not at that point yet.

“Maybe in four or five years we will be at the point where we can worry about what our opponent does, but we are not there yet.”

Angelina McKeever had eight points and two kills and Kenzie Fielding five kills and four points for the Tigers.