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Panthers upset

Gowanda loses in three sets to end their season

OBSERVER Photo by Christian Storms Above, Gowanda's Miya Scanlan serves a ball in Monday's Section VI Class C2 semifinal game against Allegany-Limestone at Gowanda High School.

GOWANDA — After two sets the Section VI Class C2 4-seed Gowanda Lady Panthers (16-4, 14-2) found themselves down 2-0 at home to the 8-seed Allegany-Limestone Lady Gators (13-6, 6-6) in the Class C2 semifinals. Gowanda buckled down in the next two sets to force a fifth set against Allegany-Limestone, but the Lady Gators held off the comeback by getting out to a blazing 10-1 start in the final set. Allegany-Limestone held on for the 25-15 victory and punched their ticket to the sectional final on Wednesday against Portville, with the 3-2 upset win 25-18, 25-22, 20-25, 15-25, 25-15.

On Friday, Allegany-Limestone knocked off the 1-seed on the road in three sets and on Monday night they looked to do the same thing again to 4-seed Gowanda. The Lady Gators carried the momentum from Friday night and jumped out to a 5-0 lead with Cameron Riordan at the service line. Gowanda called a timeout to slow the Lady Gators, but it was to no help as Allegany-Limestone found themselves up 9-0.

The Lady Panthers finally settled in and got a short run to try and get back into the set. Gowanda kep battling back, but the early deficit was too much to overcome as Allegany-Limestone stayed in front the whole way. The closest the score came was at 21-17, but the Lady Gators held on for the 25-18 victory.

The second set saw the tempo carry over from the end of the first set, with both sides keeping even in the early going. Gowanda was the first side to get a big run as they scored 11 in a row to get a 13-7 lead that saw Allegany-Limestone call two timeouts.

After the second timeout, the Lady Gators seemed to regain their composure as they battled back into the set and tied it at 16-16. Gowanda tried to stay in front, but it was apparent the Lady Gators regained the momentum as they held on for the tight 25-22 victory.

Down two sets at home to a team who already knocked off the 1-seed, the Lady Panthers could have turned in the third set and went home early, but instead they went to battle. In the early going of the third set, both sides were evenly matched with neither team pulling away.

It was tied at 16-16, but after a big Paige Gabel block the Lady Panthers took the lead and never looked back on the way to a 25-20 victory.

In the fourth set, Gowanda got off to its best start as they outscored Allegany-Limestone 7-2 to start. The Lady Gators called a timeout, but it wasn’t going to be enough to slow down the Lady Panthers. The closest the Lady Gators could get the score to was 14-13, but back to back Miya Scanlan kills started an 11-2 run to victory. Gowanda closed out the set with an ace by followed up a huge block by Gabel off a hard fought volley for a 25-15 victory.

Just as it appeared that the Lady Panthers had all the momentum, Allegany-Limestone wasn’t done yet. Allegany-Limestone came out buzzing in the final set and scored the first six points and outscored Gowanda 10-1. Similar to the first set, the Lady Gators lead was just too much for the Lady Panthers. Gowanda closed the gap at 14-10, but the underdog Lady Gators felt a sense of urgency and kicked it into overdrive as they got their lead to 19-11 and forced a Gowanda timeout.

The timeout just delayed the inevitable as Allegany-Limestone worked its way to a 25-15 victory that sent them to the Class C2 sectional final on Wednesday at JCC.

The resilient effort by Gowanda was led by Scanlan with 18 kills, six blocks and five aces, Gabel with 14 blocks and seven kills, Marleah Stevens with 15 kills, 20 digs and three blocks and Makenzie Carroll with 26 digs.

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