One match, by itself, at the start of a season, does not mean that everything in Section III Class B girls volleyball has changed in 2013.
However, Westhill, by knocking off defending champion Skaneateles in five sets in a season-opening classic Thursday night, served notice that it has every intention of going to the top, no matter who might be in the way.
Granted, Skaneateles is not quite the same team that made it all the way to the state finals in 2012, seeing several of its stars graduate, but it still was a tough, formidable opponent, as it showed by pulling out a tight 26-24 decision over the Warriors in the opening set.
Quickly responding, Westhill claimed the second set 25-20 to even up the match, and didn’t panic when the Lakers moved back in front in a 25-22 third set.
With the tension building, the Warriors won the fourth set in another 25-20 decision, and in the final set got all of the key late points to pull it out 25-21.
Annaleigh Gedney anchored the back line with 40 assists, adding six digs, three aces, three kills and two blocks, while Maggie Liberati provided excellent defense with her 17 digs.
Delaney Martin managed a team-best 21 digs and added 10 kills as part of a well-balanced front line. Lina Guindy had 13 kills and 10 digs, while Bella Sterly managed 13 kills and three blocks. Melissa Newcomb managed six kills, six digs and three aces.
Just before Westhill’s big opening statement, Solvay played tough in its opener against Cazenovia, but lost to that other group of Lakers in four sets.
A tight opening set went to Cazenovia, 25-23, and Solvay was not initially fazed, roaring to a 25-16 victory in the second set. But the Lakers went back in front by taking the third set 25-20, and in a tense fourth set Solvay nearly pushed the match to the wire, but lost 25-23.
Solvay, in defeat, got 15 kills from Heather Thompson and 13 kills from Jackie Allen, while Lauren Bandera amassed 27 assists, 13 digs, five kills and five aces. Allen (19 digs) and Michaela Marotti (22 digs) both were strong on the defensive end. Brenna Poli added nine digs.