February 6, 2009
Lakers down Trojans to clinch Liberty championship
It was not the night to leave your “A” game at home, but that was exactly what happened Thursday night as Homer Central girls hosted Skaneateles in an OHSL Liberty Division volleyball showdown. On the line was a share of the division title, the Lakers seemed to have all the answers.
Forced to play catch-up most of the evening, the Trojans were swept in three straight games by scores of 23-25, 17-25, 17-25 on Senior Night in front of a big crowd. Skaneateles improves to 12-2 in division play, 15-2 overall, to earn Doreen Doctor the first Liberty Division title in her 10-year coaching career. The Trojans had their nine match winning streak snapped while falling to 9-4, 11-5 overall. The win also avenged a five-game loss to Homer on the Lakers’ home court January 27.
“This was an impressive win for the girls,” said Doctor. “They all worked very hard for this. I knew this would be a tough match because Homer is a good team. They’re a good team and we are a good team. This was all heart.
“We played well the first time,” Doctor added. “Homer got the win that night. Tonight, we got the win.”
“You never know how things are going to go on Senior Night to begin with,” said Homer coach Brian Fox. “Unfortunately, we did not take advantage of the opportunity tonight.
“In our first match with them,” Fox continued. “We took advantage of the opportunities. Skaneateles outplayed us defensively and, if we played like we could have, we would have won the match. We will have to move on from here”.
Skaneateles got a very balanced team effort from the front-line. Junior Ryan Merle and classmate Emily Wood each had six kills and six blocks. Another junior, Destin VanTyle, added three blocks and three kills with junior Alexa Campanile contributing four kills and one block.
“This is a strong group up front,” said Doctor. “We started the season with an 11-0 run, but stumbled against Marcellus and Homer. We worked hard to get back to where we were. Tonight, the girls did that.”
To win that first title of your coaching career in a tough Liberty Division makes it even more special.
“I have always equated this league to the Big East in basketball,” Doctor stated. “This is the Beast. Class A and C have one, maybe two or three good teams, but you can never relax in this league. You have to come to play every night.
“The girls knew they cold have a share of the title with a win tonight,” Doctor added. “I was really waiting to see how they would react to the pressure of playing this tough match on the road. They really wanted this win. This title really means a lot to them.”
Homer took a 1-0 lead in the first game on a Skaneateles miscue, but the Lakers bounced right back. A Homer block even the score at 2-2 and Ashley Cavellier followed with a service ace to give the Trojans a 3-2 advantage.
The Lakers ran off three straight points for a 5-3 lead and the visitors maintained the advantage for much of the game. The game was tied at 11-11, 14-14 and 15-15 before Skaneateles enjoyed a 20-17 edge before Homer called a time-out.
A long serve by Skaneateles, a block by Rachel Perry and a Cavellier kill brought Homer back to a 20-20 tie and the Trojans won the next point for a 21-20 advantage. The Lakers answered with four consecutive points. A well-placed hit by Chloe Warner, a block by Wood and some Homer miscommunications put Skaneateles back in front 24-21.
The Trojans did not go quietly as two Alysha Camp kills pulled Homer to within one point, but Skaneateles took the game while Wood delivered another big kill.
Game two saw Skaneateles grab a 1-0 lead on a wood block and the Lakers never trailed again. The score was tied at 7-7, but a kill by Merle put the visitors in front to stay. An ace by VanTyle began a four-point run that saw the Laker advantage grow to 12-7. The Trojans never really recovered as Skaneateles to the game 25-17 and enjoyed a two-zero advantage in games.
Facing the prospects of a sweep, Homer seemed to get back on track in the third game. A 1-0 lead grew to 3-1 on two more nice hits by Camp. A kill by Katie Wick brought the Trojans to a 7-3 advantage, but the tide slowly began to turn on a kill by Merle.
Skaneateles tied the game at 7-7 on a VanTyle ace, but after an exchange on points, Homer retook a 9-8 lead on a McKenna Riley kill. The Trojans maintained control until the score reached 12-10.
Skaneateles got the serve back trailing 12-11, but Warner took control and effectively put the ball in play nine straight times. Two Wood blocks, two wide hits by the Trojans and a few nice placements by the visitors and Skaneateles suddenly led 19-13 by the time Homer got another serve.
The Trojans tried one more rally, but the Lakers were happy to trade points and went on the close out the match with the 25-17 victory and a three-game sweep.
Statistically for Homer, Riley set the pace with 24 assists, 10 digs and six kills. Wick finished with eight kills, seen digs and one ace. Camp had a nice night with eight digs and seven kills. Cavellier finished with eight digs, three kills and two point blocks. Alexis Johnston recorded seven digs, Perry four kills and two digs, plus Katie Camp two kills.
Despite the Liberty Division title slipping away, there is still some work to be done by the Trojans.
“I told the girls to watch Skaneateles celebrate the title,” said Fox. “We can enjoy that same opportunity to celebrate by winning sectionals. Tonight won’t mean anything if we can accomplish that goal.”
Despite the setback, Riley, Wick, Johnston and Molly Nulty will have one more regular season home match tonight as the Trojans host Hannibal. JV action begins at 5:30 p.m. with the varsity match to follow. The Trojan quartet was introduced before warming up for the Skaneateles match, along with their parents, as part of Thursday’s Senior Night activities.
HOMER JVS saw their four-match winning streak snapped by Skaneateles Thursday. The Lakers won 26-24, 15-16 to send the Trojans’ overall record down to 9-7.
Nicole Sanford led the Trojans with 11 assists, two digs and one kill. Katelyn Buchanan had nine digs and two kills. Karley Brown chipped in with six digs, four kills and two aces while Alyssa Morgan added five digs and three kills. Also contributing to the win were Jessica Mitchell (four kills), Danielle Murray (two digs), Skylar Diamond (one kill) and Michelle Spencer (one dig).
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