Maddie Hurysz smashed home the match winner as No. 5 seed Cooperstown completed a fifth-set comeback to advance in the Section III Class C volleyball playoffs with a 20-25, 25-12, 23-25, 25-17, 26-24 win over No. 13 seed Lowville in the first round Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Cooperstown’s Red Bursey Gymnasium. 

It was the Hawkeyes’ first volleyball playoff win since 2014.  

“What a team,” Cooperstown coach Rich Jantzi said. “They stuck together the entire night. We may have started a little slow, but what a great finish. 

“That team was spectacular,” he continued. “Their libero (Alyssa O’Connor) was phenomenal.” 

Senior setter Natalie Brotherton set a Cooperstown school record for most assists in a game with 41. Hurysz had 15 kills for the Hawkeyes. 

After dropping the first set, Cooperstown ran up a big lead in the second set. Set three was close throughout, but the Raiders took the lead after a 20-20 tie and won by two points. Cooperstown built up a big lead in the fourth set, then held off a Raider comeback to tie the match. 

In the fifth set, the teams were tied eight times early, but the Raiders built a small lead and held it until 20-20. The teams were tied again at 21, 22 and 24, before Cooperstown broke Hannah Gyore’s serve and won on Hurysz’s play at the net. 

“Our defense was awesome,” Jantzi said.

“It has been a while since we won (a playoff game). These girls deserve it,” he continued. “They work so hard.”

Cooperstown (13-4) will play at No. 4 seed Tully in a game scheduled for Friday, Feb. 7. Tully swept Pulaski, 3-0, Tuesday, Feb. 4, in the opening round. 

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