By Chris Metcalf
CUBA – Eighth-grader Bailey Orman and sophomore Lena Balisciano both had career nights as No. 6 seeded York upset No. 2 Cuba-Rushford in five sets in Section V Class D1 semifinal action Tuesday night in Cuba.
Cuba-Rushord won the first set 25-20 before York battled back to tie things up with the 25-20 second set victory. The Lady Rebels held off a late charging York team in the third set 25-23 before York forced a fifth set with the 25-20 victory in the fourth.
York jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the fifth set following Balisciano’s kill and then held off C-R with the 15-11 victory.
Orman was sensational as she finished the night with a triple-double including 19 service points, 18 digs, and 10 kills. She also added three assists and two blocks for the Lady Knights.
Balisciano also played a huge role with a double-double of 19 digs and 14 assists. She also added four kills with three aces and one block.
Every York player that stepped on the floor played a huge part for the Lady Knights.
Junior captain Ariana Roessel had 21 digs to go with four kills, two aces and one block while junior Haley Miller contributed 10 assists with six digs and three aces.
Three other juniors, including Mia Hilyard, Rylee Cuozzo and Paola Rios-Santiago also sparked the Knights.
Hilyard finished with 10 kills, one ace and one block; Cuozzo registered five kills and three blocks while Rios-Santiago had a game-high 27 digs, many of which were spectacular point-saving digs.
In the fifth and deciding set, Miller came up with some big serves as she had seven straight to push York’s lead to 8-4. A Balisciano block would give York the 10-4 lead followed by an Orman kill shot that put the lead to 11-6.
Cuozzo’s big block would give York the 14-10 lead before C-R got the serve back, but they would put it into the net for the 15-11 final.
York improved to 15-6 on the season and will play No. 1 Alexander for the Class D1 title Friday night in Bloomfield.
Alexander defeated Bolivar-Richburg in four sets Tuesday.
Cuba-Rushford finished 15-3 as they were led by Kendall Tompkins with 15 assists, 10 digs, two aces and one kill while Lauren O’Keefe had nine kills, six digs and one ace. Raegan Poore also contributed seven kills and four blocks.
York head coach Kaitlin Kolb, who was a star player on the Lady Knights’ last sectional title team in 2003, loved the way her girls competed and never hung their heads, even when down 2-1 in the fourth set.
“Tonight was a high energy, back-and-forth match and we are excited to come out on top,” coach Kolb said. “We had played Cuba in the Warsaw Tournament earlier this season and knew we had our work cut out for us. They are a very good team with a great coach, lots of respect for them. We also played Alexander in the same tournament. They are a well-rounded team led by seasoned seniors and Marcia (Hirsch) is an amazing veteran coach. We are fired up to be in the finals and will celebrate tonight, but need to be focused and ready to work tomorrow and Thursday in the gym.”