Nov 07, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
It all turned out well for the Martin family.
True, the West Genesee girls volleyball team that Clark Martin coaches lost its Section III Class AA final to Baldwinsville Wednesday night at Cicero-North Syracuse’s gym.
But Martin’s daughter, Delaney, was leading Westhill past Starpoint in the opening round of the Class B state playoffs at Sweet Home High School in suburban Buffalo.
There was little time for Westhill to celebrate its first-ever sectional Class B title, earned Monday night against Phoenix. Just two nights later, it was on the road, playing the Section VI champions, Starpoint, who was also in its first state tournament appearance.
Both of the first two sets were tight and dramatic. Starpoint fended off three set points in the opener before Westhill prevailed 27-25, and the second set followed a similar pattern, though it was the Spartans prevailing 26-24 to even the match.
Breaking out of that pattern, Westhill won the third set by a convincing 25-15 margin, and then led by as many as seven points in the fourth set before Starpoint rallied to tie it, 24-24. But Westhill won back the serve and put away match point to clinch it, 26-24.
Annaleigh Gedney put together 36 assists, plus five kills, three aces and 11 digs. Up front, Martin had 15 kills and seven digs, while Bella Sterly managed nine kills and Xionara Rodriguez managed eight kills and 13 digs. Melissa Newcomb also had three kills as Maggie Liberati added five aces and six digs.
While that was going on, Clark Martin was sending his West Genesee charges against B’ville, the area’s reigning dynasty.
And though the Bees, as expected, prevailed in three sets, WG showed all of the character traits – hustle, spirit, determination – that had brought the team this far.
“This team never quits,” said Martin. “They’re aggressive, and they play with heart.”
A brief glimmer of hope was provided in the opening moments as WG (who lost to the Bees in three-set sweeps on Sept. 11 and Oct. 8) took leads of 4-2 and 5-4, mostly because B’ville was finding it difficult to adjust to brand-new volleyballs it had not used in matches all season.
Despite that, and despite the effort from the Wildcats on every single point, B’ville’s execution took over, as it took the lead at 6-5 and gradually pulled away, using a series of point runs to eventually build a 25-15 winning margin.
By contrast, in the second set WG never led after surrendering the first two points. From a 3-2 lead, B’ville went on an 8-2 run, and stayed in control even though WG kept rallies alive with an all-out effort that, occasionally, led to points that drew the loudest roars of the night.
Still, the Bees’ winning margin in that set was exactly the same as the first, 25-15. Usually enjoying a balanced front line, B’ville depended heavily on Madison Whitney, who delivered 16 kills, and main setter Meghann Smith, who put away 33 assists.
“They (B’ville) are extremely hard to beat, are well-coached and have got good players,” said Martin.
WG put up its best fight in the third set, constantly answering the Bees’ points and tying it three times, including 13-13. When the Wildcats pulled within 21-20, B’ville called a rare time-out and, after it, got three straight points on its way to prevailing, 25-21, and ending the match.
Jessie Allen led the Wildcats, getting a team-high seven kills and four blocks, and adding nine digs. Courtney Shoults also had nine digs as Lynn Copeland contributed six digs and three kills, with Brianna Richardson adding four kills, two blocks and five digs. Kara Sweeney put together 13 assists as Hannah Bakowski got four digs and Katie McIntyre managed three digs.