December 22, 2011
Trojans recover to stay unbeaten
Homer win streak grows after defeat of CBA
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Katie Sinclair (18) of Homer slams one past Sophie Racciatti of Syracuse CBA Wednesday night. Sinclair led the unbeaten Trojans to a four-set victory with 15 kills.
It was not one of the best nights for Homer Central girls, but the Trojans found a way a keep their winning streak alive.
The Trojans lost the opening set of their Onondaga High School League volleyball match to visiting Syracuse CBA Wednesday by a 21-25 count, but rebounded to take the next three sets 25-14, 27-25 and 25-19. That recovery hiked Homer’s record to 8-0 this season, 7-0 in league matches.
More importantly, the team’s winning streak remains intact at 26 consecutive matches after beating the last team to score a win over the Trojans — the Brothers prevailing almost exactly a year ago on Dec. 20, 2010.
“It is always tough before the break,” Homer coach Brian Fox said. “There was the mystique of the CBA match from last year and I think that made the girls uptight. They certainly did not want to go into break with a loss. They were tight.
“CBA is a good team and they played a really good game,” he added. “They have a lot of athletes over there. They had gotten better during the year. We certainly did not play our best.”
Homer jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first set and maintained the advantage until midway through the set. CBA (5-3 overall) used a 4-0 run to knot the score at 15-15 before finally taking a 17-16 lead. The Brothers slowly opened a four-point advantage of its own and rode that to the 35-21 win.
That snapped a 21-set winning streak by the Trojans over the eight matches played this season.
In the second set, the Trojans used some short runs and a new strategy to build a 14-7 lead. Instead of the power hits off their sets, the Trojans began using tips over the blockers. It proved to be effective and the change of pace that led the CBA defense wondering what would be coming off each set by Taryn Heath or one of the other Trojans.
“We told our middle hitters that if they were digging your hits, they’re sitting back and waiting,” Fox said. “Let’s start moving the ball around and softening them up. Let’s keep moving them back and forth and take control of the game, which is what we like to do.
“We could have done a better job of passing the free balls to run offense which would have put more points on the scoreboard, but we didn’t do that,” he continued. “We still did find a way to win though.”
With a solid 25-14 win in the second set to even the match, the pivotal third set began.
Neither team led by more than three points. There were eight lead changes and 11 ties. The last tie came at 25-25 before a CBA hit went long to keep Homer a 26-25 lead.
A controversial ending to the set gave Homer a 27-25 win with another ball being put in play. On that long hit, CBA coach Greg Jewett believed the ball deflected out a Homer player before going out of bounds, but the officials did not agree.
Once Jewett moved across the attacking line on the court, he was subject to a red card violation for unsportsmanlike conduct. The officials gave him a chance to step back into his side of the court, but Jewett did not and continued to argue the call. the red card was issued, the Trojans received a point, won the set and took a 2-1 lead in the match. Jewett declined to comment on the call or the match at the end of the night.
Play moved into the fourth set and again the score remained close.
The Trojans broke a 10-10 with a tip by Katie Sinclair off a quick set by Logan McEvoy. Homer built a 13-10 advantage, but the score stood at 14-12 when Fox made a bold move when his team got the serve back. He brought junior Anni Wynn into the game to serve and she put three of four balls in play as the lead grew to 17-12 before that fourth serve went wide.
“It is a tough decision in a big game like this,” Fox said. “You’re not sure if you’re putting a person in the position to succeed or fail. You don’t want that person to feel overwhelmed by the situation. Anni stepped in and did a phenomenal job. She came in a did her role. Anni has really come along this season.”
“It was crazy pressure,”Wynn said. “I’m glad coach had confidence in me and I am glad got the win. It’s a nice confidence booster when your coach believes in you and trusts you to make the plays.”
Homer maintained its advantage for the remainder of the set. Junior middle hitter Lauren Smith used a quick-set for Heath for the tip to get the Trojans the serve a 24-19 and a CBA miscue gave the home team the match points.
“We have been working with Lauren on her timing to put the ball away more,” Fox said of the good night by Smith that included 10 kills and several nice tips. “She has worked hard and we are seeing that.There is still more there and we will work to pull that out of her.”
“I knew we had a strong team that could play defense and help pick our offense back up after that first game,” Smith said. “I know we can play better than we did tonight and I know we will do better next time.
“They (CBA) were smart and looked to take some things away from us,” she added. “We were able to adjust and get the ball by their defense to get the points we needed. I think we did alright in that way.”
Heath finished the night with 28 assists, three blocks, three digs and two kills to lead the Trojans. Sinclair had 15 kills and moved into second place on the all-time kills list for the school. She also had three digs and two blocks. Those blocks have the senior four away from becoming the all-time blocks leader for the school.
Other Homer standouts were Lianne Reed (22 digs), Jessica Mitchell (six digs, four kills), Emily Cottrell (eight digs), Jessica Walter (four digs) and McEvoy (two kills)
Kelly Bewley paced CBA with 17 assists and five kills. Claire Gollegly added 12 assists and eight digs while Marisa Hamel had nine digs. Sophie Racciatti and Becky Scullin each delivered nine kills for the Brothers.
HOMER JVs won their sixth straight match by sweeping the first two sets against CBA 25-11, 25-16. The Brothers won the third set 25-12, which didn’t matter overall. The Trojans improve to 7-1 overall.
“We played well, but we are missing a key player from our team,” Homer coach Jeremy Cook said. “Hannah McEvoy rolled her ankle this week and was not able to play tonight. With the holiday break coming up, we are hoping the rest will help her heal quicker, but you just don’t know with things like this.”
With McEvoy watching from the bench, Tanya Priadoun paced the Trojans with 10 assists and one ace. Kim Dieroff added seven digs and three kills. Alex Contento helped out with four kills, three digs and two aces while Liz Walter added three kills, two aces and two digs.
Homer is off until Jan. 3 when East Syracuse-Minoa visits for an OHSL match.
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