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Thunder volleyball rolls into second round of playoffs

By Murray Gleffe

SEYMOUR — The No. 3-seeded Seymour volleyball team scored the first 16 points of the match on its way to a straight-set victory (25-6, 25-18, 25-12) over New London Oct. 20 in the first round of the WIAA Division 1 playoffs.

“It’s something we’ve talked about (starting strong) all season, and it was nice to see the team deliver,” said Stacey Jones, Seymour head coach. “Tayja Cornell was the perfect person to go back there to start us off. It’s energy we want to continue moving forward.”

Cornell led the way with six aces and 13 digs for the Thunder.

On the offensive end, Sophie Wery, Andrianna Volz and Sydney Levanetz all had multiple kills for the victors, who will travel to No. 2 Hortonville Thursday, Oct. 22.

The winner will advance to the regional final.

“We’re playing our best volleyball right now,” said Jones. “We know we can do it. If we continue to work as a team like we did against Xavier and New London tonight, we’ll be in good shape.”

In the first set, Cornell started serving, and after a missed kill into the net and a four-pass exchange by the Bulldogs, she served 14 more times.

“I want to be the one serving the ball out of the gate,” said Cornell. “Our team got on a roll to start the game, and it kept going for what felt like 10 minutes. We got the ball to our senior in Sophie, and she put down some hard kills.”

After missing a kill on the offensive end, the Bulldogs finally got on the board when a Seymour middle-hitter missed a ball into the net.

With Seymour up double-digits, Thunder junior Olivia Swenson used her long frame to block a Bulldog’s kill attempt.

Five points later, Seymour closed out the opening set on another error by New London.

After a back-and-forth second set where there were four lead changes, Seymour broke out to a 17-15 lead after Wery found the back-right corner of the floor with a kill.

The Thunder pulled away late with some luck from the net-gods.

Up 23-18, Cami Arno connected on an ace where the ball hung on the net and went sideways for a second before dropping on New London’s side.

The Bulldogs again had another error to end the second set, which gave Seymour a two-set advantage.

The Thunder jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third and extended it to 15-3 midway through.

Fittingly, Cornell ended New London’s season with an ace to close the match.

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