STRASBURG — On paper, the Division II District volleyball semifinals should have been close, as both teams came into Tuesday’s match with just four losses, significant win streaks - Dover six and Indian Valley nine - and they were very closely seeded.
The closeness continued on the court as No. 4 seed Dover knocked off No. 5 seed Indian Valley in five sets, 25-23, 23-25, 24-26, 25-22, and 16-14 in the final set.
The first set saw the Tornadoes jump out early behind strong play from Sawyer Lorentz, who executed her kill shots with power and placement, along with a couple key blocks. With Dover up 23-17, the Tornadoes held off a late surge by Indian Valley before winning 25-23.
The second set mirrored the first as Indian Valley jumped out early, keyed by the Rakestraw sisters. It was Kitanna who set the tone early with three high-velocity kills, helping the Braves jump out to a 10-4 lead. The lead grew to 19-7 before Dover forged a rally of its own. After cutting the lead to 23-22, Kiara came up big with a couple kills of her own to preserve the 25-23 victory, evening the sets at one each.
The third set also produced drama. Indian Valley lead the entire set, with key plays coming from Peyton Guspyt, who had several awesome digs at crucial points to thwart what seemed ready to be inevitable Dover kills. Just as in the first two sets, a late surge came from the trailing team -- this time Dover -- which claimed its first lead at 24-22. After a timeout, the Red and Blue responded by scoring the next three points to win 26-24 and take a 2-1 lead.
Dover’s Megan Cercone set the tone in set four with some great defensive plays, and teammate Emma Hamm had two kills to give the Crimson and Gray the early momentum in a must win set for the Tornadoes. Although the set was close throughout, the Braves never saw the lead in set four, forcing a fifth and deciding set. Cercone led Dover with 21 digs.
Lorentz, who had 19 kills on the night, went back to work in the final set with kills on the first two Tornado points of the set. After four straight service points from Tornado Sawyer Campbell, Dover lead 9-5 in a set that’s decided by the first team reaching 15 points. Indian Valley mounted one more furious rally, forcing the set to go to extra points before Dover closed it out 16-14.
Indian Valley finished the season at 18-5.
Reagan Love had 16 points, 23 assist, two kills and 14 digs for the Braves, while Guspyt added 25 digs and seven points. Kiara posted 17 kills and 12 digs and Kitanna added six points, two assists, 16 kills, seven blocks and five digs.
Dover improved to 20-4 and advanced to the district final against Carrollton.