Two of the state’s top volleyball teams tangled Tuesday night as Whitewater played host to McIntosh. The match did not disappoint as the Chiefs prevailed in a thrilling third set to clinch the top seed in the region. Left, Elise Mackanych, Nell Copeland, and Olivia Stewart celebrate a key point. Right, Anjelina Webb goes up for the kill. For a full recap, turn to page 8. (Staff Photos by Christopher Dunn)

With the volleyball regular season nearly wrapped up, a pair of local foes prepared to send it out with a bang, the McIntosh Chiefs prevailing in a thrilling three set match (25-19, 17-25, 25-23) over the Whitewater Wildcats.
“We definitely need those kind of (tough) matches where we come out on top,” said McIntosh coach Wendy Mabon. “We need to learn that we can win when we push.”
Both teams came into the match perfect in region play, meaning the winner would be in the driver’s seat heading into the area tournament. With so much on the line, a big crowd helped push the match to playoff-like levels of intensity.
“We really thrive on that kind of energy,” said Mabon. “When we lose that energy, you see the lulls. When we bring it back, we’re pretty hard to beat.”
After the Chiefs claimed a 25-19 win in the first set, Whitewater rebounded with a 25-17 triumph to force a decisive third set.
McIntosh jumped out to an early lead, Brianna Beccera’s ace staking her squad to a 7-4 lead. Their lead would grow to 11-7 on a Lynsey Hamblin kill before the Cats went on a 5-1 run to tie it at 12-12.
The Chiefs surged in front by four, but Whitewater clawed right back to knot it at 17-17.
A pair of kills by Anjelina Webb would give the Cats their first lead of the set at 21-19.
McIntosh bounced back, grabbing a key two-point lead at 24-22 with Nell Copeland setting Elise Mackanych for the kill. Whitewater capped off a marathon rally to get back within one, but Shelby Doyal’s kill sent the Chiefs into a frenzy with a 25-23 victory.
Shelby and Jessie Doyal tied for the team lead with seven kills, followed by Caroline Cameron with six, Elise Mackanych with four, and Finn Millians with two. Brianna Beccera paced the team in aces with five, while adding 14 digs. Lynsey Hamblin and Olivia Stewart each added 10 digs. Nell Copeland led the team in assists with 17, followed by Hamblin with eight.
After the win over the Wildcats, McIntosh thoroughly dominated Riverdale in straight sets (25-3, 25-5). The victory over the Raiders seals up the top seed heading into next week’s area tourney.