Knights sweep Cosby

Thomas Dale dom­i­nates home match, im­proves to 11-1

The Progress-Index - - SPORTS DESK - By Sean Jones Cor­re­spon­dent

CH­ESTER — Thomas Dale Boys Vol­ley­ball (11-1) on Wed­nes­day night de­feated Class 6 ri­val and de­fend­ing 2017 state cham­pi­ons Cosby (10-5) in three straight sets (25-12, 25-17, 25-18). The Knights im­proved on a vic­tory from ear­lier in the sea­son when it took four sets to best Cosby.

“It’s def­i­nitely a ri­valry be­cause [Cosby has] been on the win­ning side re­cently,” said Dale head coach Joshua Forbes. “We’ve been at that doorstep in play­offs. We’ve come out strong in first sets dur­ing the play­offs in years past and come out on the wrong end a cou­ple of times. They’re one of the best pro­grams in the state ev­ery year. It’s no dif­fer­ent this year, so it’s def­i­nitely a lit­tle bit of ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion.”

The first set kicked off to an elec­tric at­mos­phere with the Dale stu­dent sec­tion in full voice and vis­it­ing Cosby hav­ing more than a few sup­port­ers of its own. Cosby kicked off the game with a serve that went into the net for a pierc­ing roar from Dale that re­ver­ber­ated through­out the gym.

The Knights jumped out to a quick seven-point lead with strong serv­ing from Divi­sion I base­ball re­cruit Kar­son Jen­nings and Divi­sion I vol­ley­ball re­cruit Wil­liam Ki­men­hour. Cosby looked for a kill to end a run of los­ing points but were met by the strong hands of Isa­iah Ori­ente at the net. He rose higher than the Ti­tans’ hit­ter to pro­tect his end. Down 8-2, Cosby took a time­out.

“Isa­iah Ori­ente is kind of the un­sung hero on our team. That was one of the best open­ing set block­ing per­for­mances I’ve seen out of an in­di­vid­ual in my time here,” Forbes said. “And, Isa­iah is only a sopho­more so he’s def­i­nitely got a bright fu­ture ahead and I think we’re start­ing to see that po­ten­tial.”

The Ti­tans came out of the time­out to a run of points, slowly work­ing back into the game at 15-10 un­til Ori­ente and Jen­nings

came up with more blocks at the front. Thomas Dale took the first set 25-12.

“I think it was a to­tal team ef­fort. That’s the big thing, they came to­gether,” Forbes said. “They’ve had some re­ally good prac­tices the past cou­ple of days. They de­cided that they were go­ing to come out, be one, com­mu­ni­cate, ex­e­cute, fol­low the game plan and work with each other.”

The sec­ond set opened to a flurry of points for Thomas Dale. Cosby looked equal to the task this time, go­ing on a run of points to tie the set at 5-5. Ki­men­hour broke the Ti­tans’ streak with a tow­er­ing kill. His six­foot-six frame jumped to meet the set and dev­as­tated the ball. It was too hot for the set­ter to han­dle.

The set ex­ploded for Thomas Dale when Jen­nings went on a serv­ing spree that put his team ahead by a huge mar­gin at 21-13. The teams traded points un­til Dale took the set 25-17.

“We def­i­nitely had an ag­gres­sive serv­ing strat­egy com­ing into the game and high­lighted some things that we def­i­nitely wanted to achieve,” Forbes said. “They were hit­ting some re­ally nice shots against us that we had to ad­just to that we didn’t see last time. The guys did a great job com­mu­ni­cat­ing to make those shifts.”

The third set opened with kills from Zach Miller at the net. At 8-5 Dale started to pull away. Gavin Wood gath­ered more min­utes on the court as the game moved on and had some ag­gres­sive mo­ments at the net. Though not the same tow­er­ing size as some of his team­mates, Wood show­cased an ex­cel­lent leap and quick re­flexes to tip the ball be­fore the Ti­tans’ hit­ters.

“I’ve said this mul­ti­ple times: this is the deep­est team I’ve ever had. One through 16, I trust ev­ery sin­gle one of them on the court,” said Forbes. “It’s great be­cause that cre­ates a com­pet­i­tive prac­tice en­vi­ron­ment. That’s some­thing we pride our­selves on here and some­thing we take very se­ri­ously. I think all those reps and hard work in prac­tice is some­thing that came to fruition to­day.”

Thomas Dale rose to an 18-12 lead in the fi­nal set and ended the game on an em­phatic kill. Ki­men­hour again took a com­mand­ing leap to get on the end of a set ball and crushed his kill through the cen­ter of Cosby’s court. The pur­pose­ful ex­e­cu­tion of his kill echoed the team at­ti­tude dis­played by the Knights all evening to de­feat a pow­er­house pro­gram in re­sound­ing fash­ion.

Thomas Dale will look to add to its im­pres­sive sea­son in its next game away at Peters­burg on Oct. 16.

PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM] [SEAN JONES/

Thomas Dale Boys Vol­ley­ball’s Wil­liam Ki­men­hour (from left), Isa­iah Ori­ente and An­drew Car­raway get set to jump into ac­tion af­ter their team’s serve in the first set.

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