MADISON — Crystal Procaccini says one of these days her Hand girls’ volleyball team is going to give her a heart attack.
The stretcher seemed to be ready and waiting Thursday night, but was never needed as the Tigers knocked off archrival Guilford, 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-20, 25-23), on Dig Pink Night to benefit breast cancer awareness.
“We’re famous for keeping me on the edge of my seat,” Procaccini said. “They always wait until the last minute to take the games.”
Hand (7-6, 3-3 SCC Hammonasset Division) controlled most of the first two games in the match. After trailing 8-6 in the first game, the Tigers scored the next four points. They maintained the lead, pushing it to 20-14 and 24-17, before Cassidy Wygonik (14 kills) spiked the ball right to Guilford’s Katherine Triebel, but she blocked the ball into the net to give Hand the first game.
The second game was much the same with Hand grabbing leads of 17-9 and then 20-12.
“I took a timeout at 20-12 and told them that we can go home in three games if we keep playing like this or we can stay here and keep fighting,” Guilford coach Rachel Martinich said.
At 24-20, the Tigers needed one more point to take a 2-0 lead in games. But Guilford’s Lynn Guibbory served as the Indians pulled it out with six consecutive points. The game ended when Hand’s Maddie McDonald tried a kill attempt down the middle that went long.
“I thought we got frazzled and needed to focus on what we were doing,” Procaccini said. “I told them to get the Dig Pink stuff and what seemed like hundreds of people here out of their minds.”
The third game went back and forth until midway through when Hand took over. The Tigers took a 2-1 lead in games when Maggie Gautrau (10 points, 10 kills) came through with a huge spike.
The fourth game seemed to be in Guilford’s hands as the Indians tried to tie things and send the match to a fifth and deciding game. They led, 13-8, but Hand collected the next five points to tie it at 13-13. It remained close until Gautrau’s spike up the middle gave the Tigers a 24-23 lead.
Krissy LaSance closed out the match with a serve that wasn’t handled and hit into the net.
Kendall Jerzyk added 12 points and 21 assists for Hand. Heather Wirth had 10 kills and six blocks, while Kristen Urban had 28 assists and 11 digs and Sam Grinold added 10 kills and 14 digs for Guilford (6-8, 3-3).