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December 8, 2009

 

Defending champions turn back Cortland

The final result notwithstanding, the Cortland High volleyball team’s performance against defending OHSL Freedom Division champion Fulton in its league opener Monday night left coach Cheri Olson in a good frame of mind.
“This is the strongest overall showing that Cortland has had since I have been the varsity volleyball coach,” said Olson, in her second year at the helm at CHS, after her team fell to 2-1 overall in a 25-21, 25-19, 26-24 defeat. “We are not the same team that we were last year and it definitely showed tonight. Fulton is a strong team and they are used to winning. We gave them a run for their money.
“We came out strong and were ahead for most of the first set. They were able to sneak in at the end of the game, but we never let down. During the second game we sat back a little, but remained competitive throughout. During the third set we were down a lot, but (junior middle back) Kelly Knauerhase had strong serves to bring us back at the end. We were baby steps from taking the third set to make it go four, but fell just short,” she added.
Senior middle back Lisa Dovi had 10 kills, an ace and a dig for Cortland, while Knauerhase had eight kills, an ace and two blocks, senior outside hitter Josie Roberts six kills, an ace and four digs, junior libero Amanda Shelley 28 digs, junior outside hitter Kaylee Gebhardt three kills and 13 digs and senior setter Sarah Curtis a kill and 10 digs.
“This year’s team is demonstrating a confidence and will to win that were just emerging last year,” Olson said. “I was so proud of the girls. They played so tough and didn’t give up on it when we were down. It takes a good team to come from that far behind and make the set that close. We really made Fulton earn their win.
“I am excited for the rest of the season and the girls should be, too. My only disappointment of the night was that the girls didn’t take at least one set from Fulton, because I really think that they played hard and deserved it. Amanda Shelley was awesome on defense tonight. Lisa Dovi and Kelly Knauerhase were strong in the middle.”
CORTLAND JVs lost to Fulton 25-11, 25-14 and are now 0-2 on the season. Maddie Dorward, Hannah Stockton, Megan Howard and Marissa Travis were all cited for their serving, while Cassie Tollner and Katie Dovi earned praise for their defensive efforts.
Both Purple Tiger squads visit Chittenango Friday, the JV match set for a 6 p.m. start.