WILTON – Wilton won the first two sets of Thursday’s River Valley Conference volleyball match against Class 3A 10th-ranked Tipton, but the margin was razor-thin. The Class 2A ninth-ranked Wilton won the first two games by just two points.
The next two sets the Tigers got close victories, giving them the momentum to pull out a five-set victory over the Beavers 24-26, 25-27, 25-23, 25-22, 15-8.
“We knew it was going to be a tough match,” Wilton head coach Brenda Grunder said. “I had hoped it would be a close and competitive match. We’ve got things to grow from.”
Wilton’s Kortney Drake spiked down a kill to break a tie in the first set, and then Tipton junior Blake Ehler’s hit missed the sideline as the Beavers took the first set 26-24. With the second set tied at 25, Wilton’s Alexis Maurer spiked down a kill to end a long rally. Drake followed with a kill to put the Beavers up two games to none.
But the next set went to the Tigers (9-2, 2-0 RVC). Ehler finished it off by hitting one from the back row that just stayed in bounds.
Although the Beavers had lost their first set of the season, they still held a two-games-to-one lead.
“The momentum was still with us,” Grunder said. “It was a battle.”
But Grunder pointed to the fourth set as the difference-maker. Tipton won it 25-22 to force a fifth game.
“It was razor thin, and in the fourth set we uncharacteristically missed serves,” she said.
Now with the momentum on their side, the Tigers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the fifth set, forcing a Wilton timeout.
“I have complemented this team time and time again that they have heart and they run from bleacher to bleacher. But for those three points we didn’t do that,” Grunder said.
The Beavers tried to battle back, but the Tigers kept spiking down kill after kill on their way to a five-set victory. It was the first loss of the season for Wilton (10-1, 1-1 RVC).
Aubrey Putman led the Beavers with 24 kills on the night, and Drake added 12. Kallie Poor had 42 assist, and Alexis Maurer had 24 digs.
“They should be disappointed. They should be upset,” Grunder said of her players. “But we talked about doing better. We will do better.”