October 5, 2016


OHSL Volleyball: Homer unable to scale Caz’s ‘wall’

JackBob Ellis/staff photographer

Caley Cornwell of Homer taps the ball away from Cazenovia defenders Molly Carges, left, and Lindsey Lawson in Tuesday’s OHSL match.

Staff Writer

Spikes, blocks and fundraising were all part of Tuesday’s big OHSL Liberty American Division volleyball match at the Homer Intermediate School gymnasium between Homer Central and Cazenovia.
The hosting Trojans rode an early wave of adrenaline to a two sets to one lead, but the towering wall of Lakers’ middle hitters won out in the end as Cazenovia pulled out a grueling five-setter 19-25, 25-13, 23-25, 25-18, 25-10 to improve to 4-0 in the division and 9-1 overall
When the Sideout Foundation Dig Pink National Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser was over, the Trojans had slipped to 3-2 in the division and 8-3 overall.
That Cazenovia wall included 6-foot-4 senior captain Danielle Tedesco, 6-2 senior captain Molly Carges and 6-2 freshman Lindsey Lawson. While they struggled at times, this trio dominated the final two sets to help Cazenovia gain the victory.
Tedesco had 17 kills, three blocks and three aces. Carges added 15 kills, four blocks and four aces while Lawson contributed four kills and two blocks.
“Homer gave us some fits,” Cazenovia coach Brian Ellithorpe said. “There were moments when we didn’t play well and they did so we had to overcome that. When we’re on, we’re very good. Sometimes we really struggle. The trick is to keep our girls on more than off.
“We do play together in the off-season so we know some of their tendencies,” he continued. “That is good. They also know ours, so that hurts. We do get along well because we play club ball together. Jeremy (Cook) and I have been friends for a long time. He is one of my best friends.”
“We know Caz and we have played them numerous times,” Homer coach Jeremy Cook said. “Brian and I worked together over the summer at camps so there are really no surprises there. We knew we would have to play a near perfect game to pull a win off.
“We had a ton of momentum with the two set wins, but we just got a beatdown in those couple of sets,” he added. “It was a bit demoralizing and it showed in our lack of enthusiasm. You can’t coach height and we have a little less than they do.”
Cook mentioned that there was a game plan that his girls tried to execute.
“We just needed to do what we could,” he said. “Good passing and sets for hits are what we needed. If we did what we could on our side, we could have a chance. It showed in the first three sets. We forced some mistakes and got them down a little bit. You have to play very clean volleyball to beat a team of that caliber.”
CAZENOVIA GOT OUT to a quick 6-1 lead in the first set, but hitting mistakes allowed Homer to climb back in it. Two redirected hits by Caley Cornwell and a tip by Cary Trierweiler helped Homer take a 19-11 lead. With Deede Partigianoni serving, a Cornwell block and kill got the Trojans to 22-16. Trierweiler got a nice block for the final point in the 25-19 first set win.
The second set saw Carges serve up six early points to help the Lakers take a 10-3 lead. She had one ace in that sequence, but kills by Tedesco and Trojans mistakes were key. Back-to-back kills by Carges pushed the Cazenovia advantage to 22-11 and the Lakers coasted to the win.
The third set saw Cazenovia lead much of the way, but a Partigianoni solid hit through the Lakers’ wall helped Homer take a 22-20 lead. Lawson went down the sideline with a vicious hit that got Caz the serve and they tied the match at 22-22 before a deep Partigianoni hit put the Trojans back on top 23-22, but it took a little dink over Lawson by Gillian McEvoy to seal the set 25-23 in favor of the Trojans.
The fourth set started close until a 9-0 run by Cazenovia pushed the Lakers out to a 14-2 cushion. The Cazenovia front line forced Homer to hit the ball high and long. If Homer didn’t do that, Tedesco would get point blocks or good sets that led to kill shots. Only an occasional Laker mistake allowed the Trojans to make the score a bit closer.
The decisive fifth set saw Cazenovia build another big early lead. A Tedesco ace put the Lakers on top 15-3 and they cruised to the final set and match win.
“I think we just started playing with confidence,” Ellithorpe said of the fourth and fifth set domination. “We didn’t play scared. Our girls are good and they have got to have that confidence that they are good and play that way.”
Senior setter and captain Lauren Lyons recorded 35 assists for Cazenovia. Junior outside hitter Morgan Hodinger delivered eight kills for the Lakers.
Cornwell finished with 11 kills and two blocks for Homer. McEvoy added 12 digs and eight kills with Trierweiler notching six kills and two aces. Meleah Hartnett chipped in with 21 assists and eight digs while Megan Guerrera had 10 digs.
CALEY HAD TWO of the hardest balls I have ever seen her hit in that first set,” Cook said. “She was hesitant, she was aggressive. Sometimes you freeze up against a good middle hitter, but she didn’t. We just made some untimely errors, both serving and hitting, and a good team will capitalize on that.”
Despite the loss, Homer did gain some confidence in pushing a high caliber team to five sets.
“They are the number two team in the state in Class B,” Cook said. “It is an impressive thing to do. I am proud of the girls and how hard they worked. I wish the outcome was different, but we could see them again in sectionals.”
“I’m glad that we are ranked that high, but we are not really the number two team,” Ellithorpe stated. “Westhill beat us for our only loss and they aren’t even ranked. We have to be ready to play them again in a couple of weeks.”
Homer helped raise 860 dollars on-line before the match and there were plenty of fundraising items available before and during the match, so the Dig Pink Fundraiser went very well.
“I think we could have a total between 1,200 and 1,300 dollars when it’s all totaled up,” Cook said. “It’s an awesome cause and I like that the girls can get involved with something that affects so many people. The families contributed with baked goods, money, etc. It is important that so many people got involved to raise some money for a good cause.”
HOMER JVs lost 13-25, 11-25, 25-23 to Cazenovia.
Emma McLaughlin led the Trojans with four digs. Caitlin Barber added four aces and three digs. Bethanie Gratton and Celine Wang each had three digs.
In a late report, Homer (8-3) downed Lansing Friday 25-6 and 25-11.
Reagan O’Donnell delivered eight aces while Kaia Hubbard added seven aces.


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