PA Volley

The Port Allegany Volleyball team returns the ball during the 1-1 week.

The Port Allegany volleyball team split a pair of North Tier League matches in last week’s action, falling at Galeton (25-11, 25-14, 25-19) on Monday night before edging Northern Potter by a score of 3-2. 20-25, 25-19, 10-25, 25-20, 15-8 score on Tuesday.

“That’s how we win them, I guess. Give the fans their money’s worth,” Port coach Rick Hutton said with a chuckle regarding the thriller against NoPo, the Gators’ third win of the year to go all five sets. “The JV also went all five, and they won 19-17. If you want to watch a lot of volleyball, I guess you should come to one of our matches.”

Maleah Daniels led the Gator offense against the Panthers with 14 kills, 17 digs and six aces, with fellow senior Kalyn Naylor chipping in eight kills and 17 digs. Among the underclassmen, junior Marah Rush had 19 assists, with classmate Jade Evens contributing four aces, five kills, and 16 digs.

“Both girls are producing well for us, and they’re leaders on the court. I’m very pleased with those two girls right there,” Port coach Rick Hutton said of Daniels and Naylor, the team’s lone returning starters. “They’re holding together. We’re having a rough season, but they’re staying the course and they’re playing hard. I think we kind of rally around those two, and we’ll get better as a team.”

With Daniels, Naylor and Madison Preston the only seniors on the roster, Hutton is emphasizing the development of his underclassmen.

“We don’t have major depth at either JV or varsity, so the kids are playing. That’s very valuable, and that’s what we need to get the team developed,” he said.

“Obviously, we’re not going to be tearing the place up with a very young, inexperienced team, so that’s our path. I want to get to a point where we’re playing one point at a time, and then we can celebrate at the end of the points, celebrate what works for us.

“They’re getting better. More and more kids are taking responsibility for their play, and they’re working hard out there. I think at first we didn’t have good chemistry, just from different ages and that they hadn’t played together. I think that chemistry is starting to build. We’ll just continue going forward.”

Port (3-7 overall, 3-5 NTL) hosts Cameron County on Tuesday, then travels to Austin on Thursday, Oct. 3.

NEXT WEEK: Otto-Eldred, Oct. 7; at Smethport, Oct. 9; Coudersport, Oct. 10; at Kane Tournament, Oct. 12 (9 a.m.)