GALETON -- With a packed gymnasium and an air of anticipation, the Galeton Lady Tigers volleyball team (7-2) had senior Lauren Sauley and junior Alli Macensky reach major career milestones during their 3-0 sweep over Northern Potter here on Thursday, Sept. 30.
The first player to reach her major career milestone was Sauley, who entered the game needing just one dig to reach the 500th in her career.
Sauley reached the plateau nearly immediately during the opening moments of the contest, as she recorded her most memorable dig with the score tied at one apiece in the first set in an emotional moment for one of the Lady Tigers' leaders.
“We had an away game at Port Allegany last night, and I was just one away,” Sauley said. “I didn’t start my freshman or sophomore year, and I only played periodically. So it was just a lot harder to get to 500 for me.”
Sauley recorded 10 digs total in the win and added nine assists, two kills and two aces as the senior leader once again helped led her team to victory over Northern Potter.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” Sauley said. “I’m just really happy to see it all come together.”
The Galeton Lady Tigers would continue to play after a short moment of recognition for Sauley and would use an abundance of energy paired with precise hitting to completely dominate the set in a 25-9 victory.
During the set, Macensky recorded four of the 10 kills she needed as she inched closer to reaching her 500th.
In the second set, the Galeton team continued to tear through the Northern Potter defense, as they ripped off a 25-10 victory highlighted by another superb set for Macesnky, who recorded four more kills to push her to just two away from 500.
“Going into the third set when I only had two left, I was like ‘It’s coming soon',” Macensky said.
The Lady Tigers also received some devastating hits from outside hitter Olivia Rohrbaugh and were aided by strong plays from junior setter Johanna Dickerson at the net, where she recorded her lone block of the evening that helped them easily make it out of the second set with a 2-0 lead.
In the third set, Galeton struggled out of the gate, allowing Northern Potter to hang around early as things went back-and-forth throughout the first few points.
But with the score tied at 4-4, Macensky would land the 500th kill of her career and give the Lady Tigers some energy down the stretch.
“It was amazing,” Macesnky said of being part of a night where two teammates shared reaching milestones. “It happened last year, too. We had three - me, Makenna (Shuemaker) and Alexis (Johnson) - so to have two again is pretty cool.”
Macesnky ended her day with 12 kills to go along with four digs and four aces on the night.
They would close the set out with a 25-15 win as Galeton used their strong attack and some precise serving to put away Northern Potter and claim their seventh win of the season on a night laden with impressive milestones.
Defensively, the team did a superb job of covering the floor and Northern Potter rarely had any solid opportunities with the way the Galeton girls played during the victory.
“We covered everything,” Sauley said. “There were very few times where we missed a ball. We covered the top and we were hitting. So we were just on it all around.”
The team also did an exceptional job of controlling the net, leaving Northern Potter to constantly play defense instead of attacking Galeton in any meaningful way.
“Our blocking has been pretty good this season,” Macesnky said.
Rohrbaugh led the charge for the Galeton girls in the win, as she recorded a team-high 13 kills and landed some devastating shots while also doing a spectacular job of dominating the net during portions of the contest.
She finished with one block, one assist, nine digs and one ace on the day.
Dickerson also had an impressive night for the Lady Tigers and recorded three kills, one block, 11 digs, six aces while she also tallied a team-high 18 assists and did a bit of everything as Galeton’s balanced attack was on full display in the win.
Mikayla Schott also recorded a team-high 15 digs with two aces, two kills and one assist, and Eve Cole added five digs.
Senior Bailee Holleran also was able to chip in two kills for Galeton as they received solid production throughout their entire lineup.
Galeton will now have a home stretch of two games where they open things up with a contest against the winless Lady Loyalsock Lancers (0-7) on Saturday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Their next contest will be a chance for some revenge as they host the Oswayo Valley Lady Green Wave on Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. against a team who handed Galeton one of their only two losses on the year.
"We just want to win the District Championship this year," Macensky said. "We want to go to States, too."
They will need to continue to play at a high level if those goals are to become a reality for the talented group of girls in Galeton.