Oct 13, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Having taken a long path toward top-contender status, the Westhill girls volleyball team is now just a few steps short of the summit.
That was the lesson gleamed from a crucial October stretch, which started with last Tuesday’s come-from-behind, five-set victory over Marcellus.
For a long time, this rivalry was one-sided in the Mustangs’ favor. And it looked like it would stay that way as Marcellus won the first set 25-18 and the second set 25-19 to seize control.
In the third set, Westhill was two points from defeat – but pulled out the set, 25-23. And from there, the Warriors kept getting better, claiming the fourth set 25-23 and, in a tense final set, pulling out by that familiar 25-23 margin to win the match.
Defense had a lot to do with this outcome. Katie McGraw amassed a career-best 40 digs, adding four aces, while Annaleigh Gedney earned 17 digs to go with her 30 assists.
It didn’t stop there, either, as Abby Bornstein mixed in 14 kills and 24 digs, while Kelsey Matukas picked up 13 digs and three aces. Lina Guindy chimed in with eight kills and 10 digs as Bella Sterly and Delaney Martin each had four kills.
Marcellus, in defeat, saw Jessica Cost pick up 19 assists, five kills and 11 digs, while Anna Smith had nine assists and Kelsey Burke got 14 digs and seven aces. Devan Landers had a team-best 12 kills and five blocks, while Hannah O’Brien had six kills and three blocks. Allie Massara added four kills and nine digs.
Two nights later, undefeated Skaneateles visited Westhill and, despite a strong start from the Warriors, the Lakers prevailed in four sets. Westhill won the first set, 25-21, but Skaneateles swept the next three sets by close margins of 25-23, 25-22, and 25-22.
Westhill won the first set in come-from-behind fashion. The Warriors trailed 18-13 before running off eight straight points. It was the first set the Lakers lost all season.
The second set looked a lot like the first. The Lakers led 20-12 only to see the hosts come back again. Westhill won 10 of the next 11 points to take a 22-21 lead. Only this time, the Lakers didn’t give in, as it won four of the next five points to pull even in the match.
The third set featured four lead changes. The Lakers took the lead for good at 15-14, but never led by more than two points until winning it 25-22.
Westhill looked set on extending the match by the way it started the fourth set. The Warriors notched the first three points, and four of the initial five.
The Lakers hung tough, never falling behind by more than five points (11-6 and 16-11). Skaneateles finally pulled even at 19, and took its first lead at 23-22. The visitors were in no mood to play anymore, easily winning the last two points.
In defeat, Gedney had 38 assists and 10 digs. Bornstein piled up 20 kills and 20 digs, while Guindy had nine kills and 21 digs. McGraw saved points with her 38 digs as Sterly earned five kills.
Marcellus rebounded from the Westhill defeat Friday by beating LaFayette in four sets. After dropping the opener 27-25, the Mustangs won the next three sets by comfortable margins of 25-19, 25-15 and 25-17.
Up front, Landers put away 17 kills and five blocks, with O’Brien adding six kills. Suzanna Sylcox, with 17 digs, and Allie Massara, with 10 digs, led the defense as Cost picked up 21 assists, nine digs and four kills. Smith added 11 assists and three digs. Zoe Higgins contributed four digs.