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Cardinals show toughness in four-game win over Rockets

LEROY — The LeRoy-Ostrander volleyball team had a lot of ups and a few downs, but it showed plenty of grit as it outlasted Randolph by scores of 26-24, 25-20, 25-27, 25-15 in LeRoy Monday.

Few players on the court showed more toughness than L-O senior libero Gracie O’Byrne, who dove her way to 20 digs for the Cardinals (2-0 overall, 2-0 SEC). O’Byrne suffered plenty of hits from the hard gym floor, and also took a little damage from some friendly fire.

“I got kicked in the face. It hurt a little and I got beat up a little bit back there, but you just kind of suck it up and go out and play,” O’Byrne said. “It’s a lot more fun to play when you have a ton of people to cheer you on.”

The Rockets stormed back from being down 22-17 to tie the first game at 24 before Sidney Lewison served an ace and Jordan Runde put down a game-winning kill. Randolph also came back from being down 20-16 to tie the second game at 20, before L-O senior Kylie Welsh served three aces during a five-point serving.

“I’m not sure what worked for me on that run,” Welsh said. “But we feel really good. Our team has been together for awhile and that helps us know what each other might do. We help each other.”

L-O led the third game 20-17, but the Rockets were able to rally back and win that one. Despite letting a two-point loss slip away, the Cardinals still had plenty of fight left in them when they pulled away to a 10-point win in the final game after leading just 11-10.

“We worked on trying to get that mental toughness back and how to fight through it,” L-O head coach Lindsay Milks said. “I don’t have the answer for them every time, but they figured out how to get the job done. This group has really come together well and several of them are three year starters. The chemistry is the best I’ve seen in my time coaching here. The girls are in tune with each other and the biggest thing is that they trust each other.”

LeRoy-Ostrander stats: Jordan Runde, 10 kills; Sidney Lewison, 8 kills, 5 blocks, 4 aces; Sam Volkart, 2 kills, 3 blocks, 1 ace, 16 digs; Benita Nolt, 2 kills, 3 blocks; Kiley Welsh, 7 ace serves, 7 digs; Gracie O’Byrne, 20 digs, 1 ace serve; Anna Welsh, 39 set assists