February 18, 2013
Championship staying in Cincy
Red Lions sweep past nemesis SV for ‘D’ title
CHITTENANGO — The defending champion Cincinnatus Central volleyball team came into Saturday’s Section 3 Class D title match at Chittenango High with two losses this season,
Both came to its finals opponent, Stockbridge Valley.
The top-seeded Cougars, who came in at a perfect 15-0, had wrested the Central Counties League regular season championship from the Red Lions’ grasp in the process.
The sectional championship banner, however, proved to be quite a different matter.
“Both times we’d played them this season we weren’t on our game because of distractions and/or emotions,” Red Lions coach Macy Cobb said after her third-seeded team had completed a 26-24, 25-18, 25-23 sweep for its second consecutive Class D crown to cap an 11-2 season. “We looked at this match as an opportunity to prove that we could play better than we had. It took hold and we did it.
“We watched their semifinal,” she added, taking in SV’s win over fourth-seed Hamilton at Clinton on Tuesday after Cincinnatus had bumped off second-seeded Living Word Academy. “They play very shallow defense, leaving a lot of room on the end line, so we wanted to keep the ball deep. We also noticed that they don’t transition well after making a play and knew we could put the ball in spots. When their big blockers were up front we had to go around them instead of through them; we wanted to keep our sets off the net so our hitters had a little room to work.”
“They did their homework,” Cougars coach Ray Webb said quietly afterwards. “We were confident, but not overconfident. They covered the corner much better, and took advantage of our weaknesses while fixing theirs. They were better prepared than the other two times we played them.”
“After beating us twice, they thought they had this one easy,” said Cincy senior middle hitter Kassidy Kievit, who led her team with 13 kills, 13 digs, two blocks and an ace in her final high school match. “But it’s hard to beat a team three times in a season, and it gave us more incentive that they’d beaten us twice. We knew where their holes were, and what people we had to get the ball to in order to run our offense. It was definitely an advantage to have already been in the finals; after winning last year we wanted it again.”
“Their beating us twice gave us more adrenaline and helped us get ready for them,” Red Lions junior outside hitter Kasey Price said after contributing eight kills, 17 digs, two aces and two assists to the winning effort. “We felt that we could do it, and knew we could after the first game. We let our mistakes affect us in the other matches against them, but we fixed those today.”
THE FIRST GAME saw Cincy rally from seemingly certain defeat.
The Cougars grabbed control heading out of a 5-5 tie, going up 14-9 and 18-13, and expanded the lead to seven points, at 22-15, before the Red Lions got to within one with six straight points, five with junior setter Danielle Wood serving and including a kill and a block by Kievit.
Stockbridge Valley came back strong, though, and was on the brink of victory at 24-21. After a Cougar return went into the net to make it 24-22, Kievit went to the service line and, after three straight errant SV returns, Cincy junior outside hitter Susie Waltz ended it with an emphatic kill for the 26-24 final count.
“We started slow and they got the lead,” Cobb said. “We needed to step up or fold, and we stepped up. Being able to come back like that let the girls know that they could do this. They knew before, but after that they really understood it. Having been here before helped.”
The second game was closely contested and turned with the Cougars up 15-13, when Cincy was able to score eight of the next nine points for a 21-16 lead. Wood served for four of those points, one on an ace, and also included was a kill by Kievit, who then served for the last two points in the run herself. After Stockbridge Valley pulled to within 21-18, the Red Lions scored the last four points to take the game, Price and junior middle hitter Sydney Burritt with kills.
“After the second game I knew we could do it, though I remembered last year when we lost the third and fourth games,” Cobb said, referring to her team’s 25-11, 25-20, 20-25, 17-25, 25-18 victory over Hamilton for the 2012 championship. “I told the girls to put it down, right now.”
“You’re concerned any time you’re down 2-0, but last year, with pretty much the same group, we came back to win three or four times from that position,” Webb said. “The girls didn’t have a lack of confidence in winning, but it didn’t happen this time. What are you going to do? We played better than on Tuesday, but today they (Cincy) were better. It’s been a great season, a fun ride, and it’s too bad it had to end like this.”
CINCY SCORED EIGHT of the first 11 points in the third game before Stockbridge Valley rallied to go up by 15-14 and 18-16 before taking a late 23-22 lead. A kill by Burritt tied it at 23-23 and a long return of a serve by Waltz gave the Red Lions a 24-23 lead.
After Webb called a timeout, a kill by Kievit off another serve by Waltz ended it and set off a celebration by the Red Lions’ team, coaches Cobb and Shelby Wright (varsity assistant/JV coach) and a red-clad rooting section that was comprised of a good part of the village and its surrounding area.
Hamilton’s team, including coach Dennis Roy, showed up to root for Cincy, and also celebrated the final outcome.
“That was because Kassidy and Mallory (Cobb, junior setter) played on the Homer-Area Volleyball Club in the offseason with one of their players,” coach Cobb said of Hamilton’s presence. “It was good to have the extra support; it was like ‘Everybody wants us to win.’”
“It was the best feeling to have Hamilton behind us,” Kievit said, the Emerald Knights players even making up signs in support of Cincy that they gave the Red Lions afterwards.
“That was big,” Price said. “It felt great to have another team cheering for us.”
“This was the best way to finish my senior season,” Kievit said. “I wish we could go further, but we wanted to win sectionals again to finish it and we did.”
With Kassidy the one senior on this year’s team, coach Cobb said that “I think we’ll be solid next year, but Kassidy was a big part of it for us this season with her kills and smart plays.”
IN ADDITION TO Kievit and Price, Mallory Cobb had seven kills, 15 assists, nine digs and a block, Wood seven digs, 11 assists, a kill, a block and an ace, Waltz seven digs, two kills and an ace and Burritt four kills, eight digs and two aces.
Three senior middle hitters led the way for Stockbridge Valley. Samantha Yates had six kills, nine digs and six blocks while Meriah Beauvais had four kills, eight digs, four aces and two blocks and Kelsey Kinney five kills, five blocks and an ace. In addition, senior setter Justiss Usborne had 14 assists and seven digs and freshman libero Tiffani Jacobs seven digs.
IN OTHER TITLE matches at Chittenango High on Saturday, top-seed Tully lost to Loweville 25-21, 28-26, 22-25, 25-20 in the Class C-1 title match. Morrisville-Eaton swept past Dolgeville 25-21, 25-11, 25-9 for the Class C-2 crown.
In Class A, top-seed East Syracuse-Minoa fell to Whitesboro 25-19, 22-25, 25-19, 25-17 and Canastota lived up to its top seed in Class B by beating Adirondack 25-14, 26-24, 25-15.
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