February 16, 2012
Red Lions breeze to title match
ONEIDA — It didn’t take Cincinnatus Central volleyball coach Macy Cobb long to know that her top-seeded team was going to do fine against No. 5 Remsen in Tuesday evening’s Section 3 Class D semifinal match.
It also didn’t take the Red Lions long to dispose of the Rams and earn a berth in Saturday’s 2 p.m. final at Jamesville-DeWitt against second-seeded Hamilton.
“At just about 11-5 in the first game I knew we were going to be okay if we played our own game,” said Cobb, whose squad improved to 11-1 with the 25-9, 25-14, 25-12 win that took all of 50 minutes to complete. “We did a great job of hitting because the setters did so well. First and foremost, we have to have good passing. If we can get the ball in front of the attack line we can run our offense. Our passing was the key, and our serving was better than it has been. Twelve aces in three sets is pretty good, and it kept them from getting any type of offense going.
“At the beginning they had a couple of kills and we had to adjust where we were blocking. I hadn’t seen Remsen play, and I’m a bit surprised, or relieved, that the match went the way it did.”
One big reason for Cincy’s semifinal success was junior middle hitter Kassidy Kievit, who finished the match with nine kills, five aces, three digs and a block.
“This was one of my best matches of the season,” she said. “We all came and brought it. I was a little surprised at how it went. We knew we had a challenge, and were a little nervous because we didn’t know about Remsen. I had butterflies, but after a few points it was okay. We made good passes and communicated, plus we kept the intensity up the whole match.”
Remsen, which finished the season at 9-7, scored the first two points of the first set, which was relatively close at 7-5 until Cincy sophomore setter-outside hitter Danielle Wood served for five points in a row, including the aforementioned 11th that put her coach’s mind at ease. After a Remsen point made it 12-6, the Red Lions went on a 13-3 run to not only claim the opening set, which ended with a net violation by the Rams, but give an indication of things to come.
The second set was also tight early, as Remsen trailed by just 8-6 before an 11-2 run by the Central Counties League champions that pretty much sealed the verdict. Kievit served for the first four points of the run, and after the Rams broke the string with two points in a row senior outside hitter Lizi Knapp, who Cobb and assistant Shelby Wright both said played her best match of the year, served for seven in a row.
Remsen made a small run, earning five of the next seven points after trailing 20-9, but sophomore outside hitter Kasey Price served for the final three points of the set to give her team a commanding lead in the match, a block by Wood accounting for the final point.
The third set was tied at 5-5 before Cincy again broke away, including a seven-point serving run for Wood and a four-point run by Kievit, including two aces to go with the two kills she had early in the game. After a missed Remsen serve went long to end a short Ram rally and make it 20-12, sophomore setter-outside hitter Mallory Cobb served the last five points of the match, including an ace. The match ended as sophomore middle hitter Sydney Burritt earned a kill on a tip at the net.
In addition to Kievit, Mallory Cobb had three kills, three aces, 10 assists, five digs and a block for the winners while Knapp had three kills, eight digs and an ace, Burritt three kills, two aces, four digs and an assist and Wood seven assists.
“Cincinnatus is very, very good,” Remsen coach Greg Roos said. “They played great floor defense, their hitting was outstanding and every pass was right on the mark. They did a great job on the big points, and we couldn’t put an offense together because we were back on our heels.
“We’re a young team and tend to be up and down; the first 10 points of each game were the best we played in the match. We really couldn’t get our big hitter, Megan Will into the match. We hope to be back next year with a little more experience and some players up from this year’s junior varsity for support.”
Sophomore Will led the Rams with three kills, five digs and a block, while junior left-side Hailey Paddock had three kills, an ace and a dig, freshman setter Kate Roos five assists and three digs and junior middle hitter Melanie Carlson a kill, an assist and a dig.
The Red Lions, meanwhile, are ready to take on Hamilton, which beat defending champion New York Mills, the sixth seed, 25-17, 25-23, 25-19 Tuesday night in the other semifinal to improve to 17-4 on the season. It was the Emerald Knights who handed visiting Cincy its only loss, 25-21, 25-22, 25-19, to close out the regular season.
“That was extra incentive,” Cobb said. “We definitely want to see Hamilton again. I think that loss was a reality check, and the girls are very excited for Saturday. They want to redeem themselves, and play the way they know they should have that night. I think this team plays better against someone it knows. When they go into the unknown they get nervous and scared, and that’s what happened at Hamilton. It was their Senior Night, with a lot of noise in a small gym.”
“We all want to play them again,” Kievit said of Hamilton, whose coach and players were in attendance to see Cincy romp. “I think we can do it. Everyone needs to bring it.”
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