Nov 03, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
When the Section III Class B girls volleyball championship gets decided Monday night at Cazenovia High School’s Buckley Gym, Westhill is around with a chance to win it. Solvay will not be.
Despite its top seed and remarkable turnaround from last year’s 5-10 campaign, the Bearcats lost a crushing five-set battle to no. 4 seed Phoenix in last Friday night’s Class B semifinal.
Worse yet, Solvay had to watch as its neighbors from Westhill breezed past no. 3 seed and defending champion Skaneateles in three sets to earn the other spot in the finals against the upstart Firebirds.
Not only were the Bearcats 16-1 and playing in its home gym, it was taking on a Phoenix side that required five sets to get out of its opening playoff match against Homer. What’s more, Solvay had beaten the Firebirds in four sets just 11 days earlier, on Oct. 22.
Here, though, the Firebirds kept answering every Solvay charge, winning the first set 25-21 and the second set 25-20, though the Bearcats rebounded both times, claiming the second set 25-17 and rolling to a 25-16 win in the fourth set to pull even again.
And that led to an epochal fifth set. Both sides would get match points and squander them, and it went beyond the wire. Finally, at 27-27, Phoenix won back the serve, and earned the match point it needed to close out a 29-27 classic.
Solvay lost despite Jackie Gardner getting 10 assists, eight aces, 10 digs and three kills, while Jackie Allen had eight kills, 19 digs and four aces and Heather Thompson put together 14 kills.
Lauren Bandera managed 17 assists, six digs and five kills as Brenna Poli and Monica Watkins both managed four kills. Julia Tomoroska had 21 digs and three aces, with Michaela Marotti managing nine digs. Phoenix saw Amber Crews amass 35 assists and 22 digs as Paige Recore earned 17 kills and 15 digs, with Hannah Lees adding 10 kills and 17 digs.
Far less drama was found at Westhill, who put an end to Skaneateles’ dreams of a repeat title by winning each of the first two sets by equal 25-22 margins before claiming the third set 25-19 to close out the match.
Up front, Delaney Martin had nine kills, adding 10 digs, while Melissa Newcomb had eight kills and four aces. Xionara Rodriguez had seven kills and 13 digs as Annaleigh Gedney picked up 28 assists, to go with five aces and 11 digs. Bella Sterly managed four kills as Lina Guindy put together eight digs, three kills and two aces and Maggie Liberatti managed nine digs.
Both of them reached the semifinals with relative ease, Solvay sweeping no. 8 seed Mexico as Westhill did the same to no. 7 seed Jamesville-DeWitt.
In the Bearcats’ 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 victory over the Tigers, Allen served up 10 aces, plus six kills and seven digs. Bandera had 13 assists and five digs, with Gardner adding 12 assists, six digs, four kills and two aces. Thompson, Poli and Watkins put up six kills apiece. Tomoroska added six digs.
Meanwhile, Westhill got rid of J-D 25-14, 25-22, 25-23. DeGedney had 18 assists, 13 digs, four kills and two aces, while Martin and Newcomb each had nine kills, Newcomb adding 10 digs. Rodriguez had six kills and 15 digs as Guindy also got 15 digs, plus four kills and four aces. Liberatti (seven digs) and Jordan Tucker (six digs) helped out.
Marcellus, on the other hand, could not get out of the quarterfinal round, its season ending in a five-set classic against Skaneateles, the same team it lost to in five sets earlier this season.
It didn’t come as a complete surprise that Marcellus won the opening set 25-16, and were poised to go up 2-0 before the Lakers forged a 25-25 tie in the second set, regained the serve and held on to it to win 27-25 and even things up.
The third set went like the first, except that this time Skaneateles had the comfortable margin, 25-17, but Marcellus shook that off and won a close fourth set 25-21, sending the match to the wire. The magic ran out there as Skaneateles easily won the final set in another 25-17 decision.
Kayla Bryant led the Mustangs with 30 assists, 10 digs, three aces and two kills. Brittney Valentine added 34 digs as Zoe Higgins produced 12 kills. Suzanna Sylcox and Eimile O’Brien each added seven kills as Sylcox got 16 digs and Kristin Field managed eight aces, plus five digs. Haley Fogg contributed seven digs.
On a balanced Laker front line, Natalie Roche, Kelsey Kraetz and Malorie Olin each finished with nine kills. Roche also contributed on the defensive side with 13 digs, while Mia Campanile managed 18 assists, plus six digs.
As it turned out, that was the last win for Skaneateles head coach Doreen Doctor, who is retiring at season’s end – which turned to be the loss to Westhill.