MOUNT VERNON - Cornell knew that any chance for success against unbeaten Lake Forest (Ill.) would begin and end with stopping the Foresters' star tailback, Joey Valdivia.
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MANCHESTER — The state player of the year has moved on. So have the top two hitters.
A down year for West Delaware? Whatever.
The Class 3A fifth-ranked Hawks scored seven of the final nine points and outlasted No. 2 Mount Vernon, 16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 15-12, in a Wamac Conference East Division volleyball match Thursday night at Seedorff Gymnasium.
“All everybody thought about is what all we lost,” senior Haley Lyness said. “We want to prove that nothing has changed.”
Last year’s 4A state champion, West Delaware (6-0 overall, 1-0 Wamac East) extended its winning streak to 20 matches.
“Our younger girls accepted the fact that we have a tradition going,” Hawks Coach Brett Mather said. “And they’ve practiced accordingly. They’ve practiced hard.”
Before leaving for Upper Iowa University, Carlee Ketchum — the state player of the year in all classes in 2015 — mentored her successor, freshman Macey Kleitsch at the Hawks’ summer camp.
Kleitsch ran the Hawks’ attack effectively Thursday, distributing 44 assists. Nineteen went to Lyness, 17 to Claire Demmer.
“She knows where to set, where to put the ball,” Lyness said of Kleitsch.
A big late run boosted Mount Vernon (2-1, 0-1) in the first set, and likewise West Delaware in Game 2. The Mustangs scored seven of the last nine points in the third set, and appeared to have control, but West Delaware owned the end.
“We had key players making mistakes,” Mustangs Coach Maggie Willems said. “You can’t make those mistakes against a state-tournament team like West Delaware.
“I don’t want to take anything away from them. Their serving and serve reception were just better than us.”
Mount Vernon led the finale, 10-8, before the Hawks rallied. Lyness’ kill ended it.
Wynne Vandersall and Kaitlyn Volesky collected 15 kills apiece for the Mustangs. Bailey Sullivan dished out 32 assists.
WEST DELAWARE 3, MOUNT VERNON 2 (16-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 15-12)
Serving — Mount Vernon 96-108 (.889), West Delaware 90-101 (.891)
Aces — Mount Vernon 6 (Libby Ryan 3), West Delaware 11 (Macey Kleitsch 4)
Kills — Mount Vernon 54 (Wynne Vandersall, Kaitlyn Volesky 15), West Delaware 56 (Haley Lyness 19)
Assists — Mount Vernon 51 (Bailey Sullivan 32), West Delaware 55 (Kleitsch 44)
Blocks — Mount Vernon 10 (Katie Wycoff 3), West Delaware 6 (three with 2)
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