Tisbury edges Edgartown in volleyball thriller

Down 2-1, Tigers win match in five sets.

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The 1967 pennant-winning Boston Red Sox were known as the Cardiac Kids. They were young, they never gave up, and they often pulled victory from the jaws of defeat. Say hello to the Tisbury School volleyball team, a resilient young group who pulled off a dramatic comeback win over host Edgartown on Monday in true Cardiac Kid fashion, three sets to two.

With the win, the Tigers remain unbeaten at 3-0.

The match was exciting from the outset, featuring impressive, spirited play by both teams. Each team scored in bunches during a seesaw opening set. The host Eagles jumped out to a 7-0 lead before surrendering six straight points to the Tigers. Edgartown responded with six of their own, and eventually led 22-16. Then, with Jonathan Norton serving, the visitors went on an eight-point run to grab the lead, 24-22. It was nail-biting time. After the Eagles tied the game at 24, the teams traded points in a series of tight rallies that elicited gasps and cheers from the crowd. Finally, Tisbury server Gabby Vieira took two consecutive points to win it 28-26.

The second set was another tight, well-played affair. With the Eagles leading 20-17 and the game still in doubt, the teams had the fans roaring with a spirited, lengthy rally. The Eagles won the point, and with Deborah Silva at the line, the hosts served out to tie the match at one set each.

Edgartown kept up the pressure in the third set. Deborah Silva continued to dominate on serve, leading the Eagles to a 12-1 lead. Her teammate, Gabe Brito, whose strong all-around play was in evidence all afternoon, had a nine-point serving run of his own as the Eagles cruised to a 25-8 win.

The teams left it all on the floor in a heart-pounding fourth set. The score was close at the midway point, but Ethan Creato won seven serving points to give Edgartown a 22-16 lead. When the lead reached 23-18, it looked bleak for the Tigers. Two more points would give Edgartown the game and the match. Once again, the teams responded to a pressure situation with stirring play and edge-of-your-seat rallies.

The Tigers got the best of those points, narrowing the lead to 24-22. With the gym rocking, Tisbury survived two set-and-match points to tie it at 24-24. They would survive still another set point before claiming the lead at 26-25. When Gabby Vieira’s serve cleared the net and fell untouched, Tisbury had tied the match at two sets each.

The deciding fifth set is won by the first team to reach 15 points. With server Nick Cranston at the helm, Tisbury rode their momentum, winning nine consecutive points to take the set 15-4 and claim an improbable, well-earned victory.

Both teams could hold their heads high after the contest. Skilled individual play, effective teamwork, and good sportsmanship were the hallmarks of the match.

Tisbury Coach Kevan Nichols’ postmatch comment about his team can be applied to Edgartown as well. “This team is very coachable,” he said. “They are open to any new strategies or formations I may have. They understand that I’m trying to play as many people as possible, and are encouraging to all that get into the game.”

Both teams play again on Thursday, March 16. Edgartown, now 2 -2 this season, hosts West Tisbury, while Tisbury entertains Oak Bluffs.