JAMESTOWN — Pushed to the brink, the Portville girls volleyball team survived a five-set thriller to defeat Eden and stay alive in the postseason on Friday night.
The Panthers rallied back after dropping the first set, then won the Section 6 Class C state qualifier 15-25, 25-18, 25-19, 21-25, 27-25, advancing to the Far West Regionals. Portville (20-0), the champions out of C2, will face the Section 5 champion at 8 p.m. at Daemen College on Tuesday.
“It was a battle,” Panthers coach Kelly Unverdorben said. “That was probably the best volleyball that’s going to be played in New York State (this year). Holy cow, that was some crazy volleyball.”
Kylie Blessing led the way with a double-double of 52 assists and 10 kills. “She was fantastic,” Unverdorben noted.
Tori Unverdorben added 14 digs, seven kills and four 4 aces; Laura Wilhelm had 15 kills and four blocks; Olivia Emley marked 31 digs and two aces and Olivia Cook chipped in 10 kills and seven blocks.
No team had won a set against the Panthers this season until Eden (12-7) on Friday night.
“It was just perseverance, they were not going to give up, they battled hard, they were so positive, they didn’t once get negative,” Unverdorben said. “It didn’t matter if they were down by 14, down by two, up by one.
“They had the exact same emotion and they weren’t about to change it. If they weren’t going to win tonight, they were at least going to go down swinging.
“And so did eden, they played fantastic. They got a swing on everything. They passed excellent. It was just good volleyball, there was no losers: if you go to five sets like that, you can’t call anyone a loser. It was great volleyball on both sides of the court.”
SECTION 5 PLAYOFFS CLASS D1 CHAMPIONSHIP Bloomfield 3, Cuba-Rushford 0
GENESEO — Cuba-Rushord’s season came to an end in a three-set loss, 25-17, 25-17, 25-19 at the hands of No. 2 Bloomfield (17-4).
The No. 1 seed Rebels end the year at 15-3. Kate Howe led C-R two aces, three kills and 15 assists. Summer Mattison had a team-high seven kills and Grace Stolberg added four kills.
“We had a good season,” C-R coach Mary Radomski said. “I think we were a lot better than a lot of people expected us to be. It was great to be back in the championship. We ran into a tough team in Bloomfield, but we left it all out on the court and played hard.”