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Thriving in pain in the third set against Bandys, Newton-Conover senior volleyball player Isabella Zaliagiris fought through an injury.
The senior drove down 27 kills in Mondayâ€™s CVAC volleyball final, leading the Lady Red Devils to a 3-1 victory over the Lady Trojans in the rubber match between the two schools.
â€śI got a cramp,â€ť Zaliagiris said. â€śMy head was still in the game and my heart was still in the game. I just wanted to get my cramp cleared up so I could get back on the floor as soon as possible. I wanted nothing more than to beat Bandys.â€ť
Losing Zaliagiris wasnâ€™t the only injury concern for the Lady Red Devils. Fellow-senior Sarah Van Horn was also grimmacing in pain throughout the match after hitting the floor over and over again for dig attempts.
â€śSarah is dealing with a turf toe,â€ť Richards said. â€śShe toughed it out. Sarah and Isabella are just all about the team and thatâ€™s what it takes. Iâ€™m really proud of them, not taking anything from Bandys because they are a hard working team. Iâ€™m sure they are going to do well in the playoffs.â€ť
Newton-Conover (23-5) and Bandys (15-2) shared the regular season CVAC crown after splitting the season series, but only one could take home the conference tournament title and No. 1 playoff seed.
â€śThis was to decide who got the No. 1 seed,â€ť said N-C coach Linda Richards. â€śWe get to stay at home and thatâ€™s just a plus for us. Thatâ€™s what Iâ€™m looking forward to. I hope we meet Bandys again.â€ť
Despite pulling ahead with a 1-0 lead in the match, Bandys lost momentum and made some mental gaffs that cost the Lady Trojans three-straight sets and ended the chance for a second victory over their rivals.
â€śAt the beginning, we started out strong,â€ť said Bandys coach Randi Keith. â€śThen we started making mental errors and it got in our head. Weâ€™ve got to keep the ball in-bounds. It was little mistakes that cost us big in the game.â€ť
After playing such a brutally physical and emotional contest, both coaches were happy to see their teams play in such a competitive environment.
â€śIâ€™m glad to have a game this tough before the playoffs,â€ť Richards said. â€śTo play a team like this gets both of our teams ready for what is coming up on Saturday.â€ť
â€śThis put a lot of pressure on our players,â€ť Keith said. â€śWe can evaluate how we handled the pressure and work on it. This game actually can help us learn a lot heading into playoffs. I would rather it happen now then later.â€ť
Bandys and Newton-Conover are both expected to be playing home volleyball contests on Saturday when they pairings are released on Thursday.View more articles in: