Photos and story by CHRIS BROOKS
BOLIVAR — Whenever both Wellsville and Bolivar-Richburg collide on the volleyball court, you’re pretty much guaranteed getting your money’s worth in attendance to witness a show like no other.
Thursday night, like their previous thrillers in the past, it was absolutely no different. Especially when the gymnasium was packed, and the decibel level was proudly through the roof.
Just an added bonus to what has now become a yearly rivalry indoors between the two schools.
What started as a dominant opening sequence for the Lady Wolverines out of the gate, quickly hunkered and boiled down to a classic back-and-forth chess match as time went on. As both teams found their winning edge in the first two sets, the hosts found their groove in the late stages of the third set to push the Lady Lions to the brink.
That’s where the night’s shining moment arose. Bolivar-Richburg put together the big finish.
After an early 8-7 lead for Wellsville in the early stages of what would be the final set of the night, the Lady Wolverines went for every opening they could find on the other side of the net, led by a relentless attack conducted by Carmen Crowley, as they engineering a 13-4 run to pull away from the Lady Lions by as much as 10 points and towards the match victory by a 25-20, 17-25, 25-22, 25-16 count to hand their opposition their first loss this season.
“I thought my team played great defense and my hitters definitely were on tonight,” said Lady Wolverines coach Demi Elliott. “I was super proud of my team, and seeing them persevere with mental toughness after losing that second set was outstanding to make a two set comeback. It’s always a great game when we play Wellsville. They have great, tough servers, a setter that runs down everything and a great defense behind everything they do.”
It was a red hot start that the Lady Wolverines (5-1) were able to usher in against Wellsville, as they posted a massive 9-1 run in the game’s first 10 serves. But some resiliency was shown by the visitors in black and orange to jump back into the game and trim down the deficit to as little as one after being down by at most, 11 points. In the end, the hosts used seven of the set’s final nine points to claim a 25-20 win to go on top first.
The next set was all about providing the response in return for the Lady Lions (4-1), as they journeyed forward towards a strong start of their own and then some, grabbing a 20-11 lead late to take full advantage of the floor. The balance of power shifted slightly towards the Lady Wolverines down the stretch with Carmen Crowley beginning to heat up at the front of the net with a pair of kills, but Wellsville was able to hold strong for the rebounding 25-17 win.
Crowley, who served as a key cog in Bolivar-Richburg’s machine from start to finish, concluded the evening with a game-high 20 kills to go with 12 digs and nine aces from the service line.
“She was an absolute beast out there for us tonight,” Elliott said of Crowley. “She definitely came out of her shell tonight, and showed everyone what she is all about when she’s at her best. She played some seriously great volleyball, and I’m really glad that she and my setter clicked all night long.”
The third set was perhaps the most thrilling of the four sets to take place, as points were traded back and forth between both squads through the majority of a set that saw Wellsville trail by as much as seven before trimming it back down to within a stone’s throw of the lead. But the Lady Lions could not muster enough momentum to keep the power charged on their side of the net, as the Lady Wolverines scampered off on another run to claim a 22-16 lead going down the stretch.
Wellsville would not go down without a fight however, as the brilliant service of Natalie Adams from the back line allowed them to cut the deficit back down once more to two points, after a pair of aces led a strand of four consecutive points during their offensive sequence. But despite it, the Lady Wolverines were able to hang on for the 25-22 victory to push the Lady Lions to the brink.
To wrap up the night, the third set resilience from the hosts in red and black would carry over into the final set, where they escaped Wellsville’s grasp once and for all with a massive 13-4 run after an early 8-7 lead by the Lady Lions helped set up a big finish in what ultimately concluded as a 25-16 win.
Furthering Bolivar-Richburg’s cause behind Crowley was Kori Thomas, who also recorded 20 game-high kills to go with five blocks and three aces, while on defense, Brena Walp and Kylee Whiting combined to record 25 digs.
For Wellsville, Lindsay Stuck propelled both the offense and defense with 14 digs, 10 kills and four blocks at the front of the net to lead the way. Averee Palmatier chipped in with seven digs to couple alongside three kills, two aces and a block, while Natalie Adams followed up with six more digs, four aces and three kills. Setter Maddy Parks handed out 18 assists.
“Overall, I think it was a great game,” said Lady Lions coach Shannon Steiner. “Bolivar-Richburg is a really tough team, and we played them well. There are definitely some improvements that we can make, and we look forward to playing them again.”
On Wednesday, both teams will hop back onto the court after the weekend ahead, as Bolivar-Richburg prepares for a 7 p.m. first serve at Houghton Academy, while Wellsville heads back home to host the Lady Rebels of Cuba-Rushford — winners of four of their first five games, at 7:30 p.m.
Fillmore 3, Houghton Academy 0
FILLMORE — While the incredible battle of two of the area’s finest of the volleyball court was underway in Bolivar, up north in The Rock, a meeting of longtime crosstown rivals separated by just a short drive down the road came to a boiling point Thursday night between Houghton Academy and host Fillmore.
There was plenty put on the line between both squads. For Houghton Academy, an opportunity to rebound after their first defeat of the young season to Wellsville, while for Fillmore — a chance to keep building more pieces after an 0-4 start to their season.
After the opening set, the tone was indeed set. The Lady Eagles were ready to play.
Fillmore unleashed their fury to begin the night, with strong service from three different Lady Eagles, as well as a strong offensive night becoming the key ingredients to brew up what was a fourth straight win at the end of the night, laying claim to a straight-set victory over the visiting Lady Panthers by a 25-9, 25-16, 25-13 count.
“After starting the season 0-4 and not winning a set, it feels good to be back to .500,” said Lady Eagles coach Lacie Fuller. “We’re just trying to continue to grow and take steps forward. Tonight was another move in the right direction. The girls were very consistent in all aspects of the match. I thought we passed the ball extremely well and really limited our mistakes.”
Charging the efforts for the Lady Eagles (4-4) was Eevie Cox, who had 11 service points to go with three aces. Following closely behind was setter Bri Santiago, who chipped in with 11 assists at the front of the net, pairing them with 10 service points and four aces, while Savannah Hosmer chipped in with eight more service points, four aces and a pair of kills. Jenna Austin rounded off the scoring with two kills on the attack.
Houghton Academy (3-2) was paced by Bella Stevens, who posted eight digs on defense, six kills and an ace from the back line. The Lady Panthers will look to bounce back with an 11 a.m. first serve Saturday against visiting Hinsdale.
Fillmore will now look to make it five in a row come Monday night, as they prepare to visit Hammondsport in a 7 p.m. contest.
Thursday Roundup: Fri/Scio girls hang tough through 1st half battle with And/Whi, score 2 late goals to collect 5th straight win; Tallman nets pair in GV/Belfast’s 2-1 home win over C-R
WHITESVILLE — The Friendship/Scio ladies have found their rhythm, and have now started to hit every single stride they can muster.
With three games, including Thursday’s road trip to Andover/Whitesville, coming up in the next five days, the search for even more momentum to fuel their tanks is now being conducted.
The task at hand in Whitesville was one that witnessed a battle for possession sink in from the opening kick until the end of the first half, where they used the majority of the time to keep Andover/Whitesville pinned deep in their zone while garnering opportunities along the way.
The same can be said for the next 20 minutes of play in the last half, which led right up to the game’s defining moments. That being if you continue to knock at the door of opportunity, it will eventually find a way to open up.
Morghyn and Nevaeh Ross answered that call in a span of 4:25 for Friendship/Scio, providing two big cracks into the ice against the hosts in black, breaking it open after a scoreless halftime tie shared between both teams was morphed into what would become a fifth straight win in shutout fashion in a 2-0 decision.
The best chance for either side to find the back of the net in the midst of their ongoing midfield battle came in the last minute of the opening half, when a phenomenal passing play near midfield was then turned into a potential breakaway opportunity for Nevaeh Ross against a pair of Andover/Whitesville defenders, with a shot going just wide of the goal with 40 seconds remaining.
The scoreless tie would hold on the board until the first connection of the game was provided by Friendship/Scio (5-2), as they punctuated their first marker near the midway mark with Ross shifting along a pass to her sister, Morghyn Ross for the strike, breaking the ice. It was not long after until a piece of insurance followed along, as Nevaeh scored one of her own to help officially seal the team’s fifth straight win with 15 minutes left to play.
In all, the two goals came on nine total shots applied against Andover/Whitesville (1-6), as they outshot their opposition by a 9-4 count. In net, Grace Drumm claimed the shutout by making all four stops for Friendship/Scio, while Olivia Waters made seven saves for the hosts, who now travel to Fillmore for a 7 p.m. contest on Monday.
Saturday morning, Friendship/Scio will now take aim at a sixth straight win and a chance to sweep their season series with Genesee Valley/Belfast, as they travel to the Rich Sullivan Complex in Belfast to partake in battle, beginning at 11 a.m.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 2, Cuba-Rushford 1
BELMONT — They say that defense can go the longest of ways. For Genesee Valley/Belfast, it’s been one of their shining pinnacles all season long last year, when they made their way into the Class D1 Finals behind it.
Fast forward to this Fall, and the defense has continued to hold its ground. That would remain true, despite a tough battle presented by the Lady Rebels of Cuba-Rushford on Thursday, who connected with a score to cut their deficit in half in the opening 40 minutes.
But fortunately for Genesee Valley/Belfast, the goal was the only shot they would allow all game.
While the defense held Cuba-Rushford down tight, it would allow the offense to open up and create opportunities back down the field. Especially for Bayleigh Tallman, who buried both of Genesee Valley/Belfast’s goals in an eight minute span to take a lead that they would never let go of despite some pressure down the stretch, as they went on to record the 2-1 home win at Judy Bliven Field in Belmont.
“This team is overcoming some adversity. Having Mary Hamer back is huge, and that allowed us to put Bayleigh up to where she can help with the scoring. She did indeed do that,” said GV/Belfast co-coach Lisa Scott-Schneider. “Some beautiful passes by Hannah (Southwick-Powers) created some nice finishes for her. Kimme Ball is hurt at goalie, but we had a great performance from Danika (Scott) in goal, who stepped up and accepted the challenge. One time this year, we are hoping to be full strength. Cuba kept the pressure on us and all the new people in positions created good scoring opportunities and nailed them.”
It wouldn’t take long after the opening kick for Genesee Valley/Belfast (7-2) to find the back of the net first, using the first 10 minutes to their fullest of advantages with the first of Tallman’s scores from Hannah Southwick-Powers. The score would also provide a power shift that would remain with the hosts in black, allowing them to create a 2-0 lead over the Lady Rebels with Tallman’s next score from Southwick-Powers at the 23:47 mark.
But at the 17:30 mark, nearly six minutes removed from the score, Cuba-Rushford (3-4) navigated their way onto the board for the first time with what would be their only shot on the Genesee Valley/Belfast cage — a Shae Maples score off an assist dished along by Haydn Jones.
With their deficit now cut in half, the remainder of the game would remain in the hands of the Genesee Valley/Belfast defense, as they went on to successfully hold the Lady Rebels at a standstill, despite multiple opportunities to apply pressure down the stretch, to secure the victory that awaited in the end.
In all, the hosts in black outscored the Lady Rebels by a 14-1 count, with Danika Scott earning the win in net. On the opposite side of the field, Lilly Johnson-Clark made 12 saves for the visitors in white and blue.
Both teams are back on the field Saturday, as Genesee Valley/Belfast heads back to the Rich Sullivan Complex in Belfast to welcome in red hot Friendship/Scio — winners of five straight, for an 11 a.m. first kick, while Cuba-Rushford heads home to welcome in Wellsville later in the day, at 3:30 p.m.
Fillmore 8, Bolivar-Richburg 0
BOLIVAR — Five different Lady Eagles all got involved in another red hot offensive showing on Thursday, with a four-goal night from Hope Russell propelling Fillmore’s ascension towards an eighth straight win on the season in shutout fashion — their seventh this season, as they soared past the host Lady Wolverines of Bolivar-Richburg with an 8-0 win at Dunsmore-Latimer Field.
Out of the eight goals that found the back of the Bolivar-Richburg net, six of them crossed directly in the first 40 minutes of play to set the tone immediately, with the first coming from Oakley Frazier on the first of two Grace Russell assists at the 32:03 mark. Hope Russell would then have a hand in the team’s next four goals, handing out an assist to Grace before scoring the next three in a row to complete an early hat trick that included a penalty kick just past midway.
Adding some help along the way were Delaney Hillman (goal and assist), as well as first career Varsity points for Lilly Sisson (goal), Brooklyn Templeton (assist) and Kallie Pastorius (assist). In all, the Lady Eagles (8-0) totaled 23 shots on the Lady Wolverines cage, whilst holding their opposition to just three shots in return on defense — all of which were stopped by Preslee Miller to record the shutout.
On the opposite end of the field, Caitlyn Steiner made 15 saves for Bolivar-Richburg (3-5), who will look to bounce back with a 7 p.m. contest right back at Dunsmore-Latimer Field on Monday, hosting Genesee Valley/Belfast.
Fillmore will now head back home to host a colossal meeting of soccer titans tonight, as they welcome in the undefeated Allegany-Limestone Lady Gators for a 7 p.m. first kick.
Houghton Academy 5, Lima Christian 1
LIMA — A 15-shot outburst on offense was the doctor ordered to help aid Houghton Academy in their return to the win column over the road on Thursday, as they rebounded in a big way over host Lima Christian with a strong 5-1 victory.
From within the 15-3 outshooting of the Saints, the Panthers (2-5-1) saw Javier Velasco and Ricky Song each captain the offense with a pair of goals. Josh Davidson helped further the team’s cause with a goal and two helpers along the way.
In goal, Marco Zanini scored the victory behind two stops out of three Lima Christian shots applied to the cage.
The Panthers are back home Saturday afternoon for a 1 p.m. visit from Friendship/Scio.
Wellsville 112, Livonia 68
LIVONIA — Every event in the water was claimed by the Lady Sea Lions of Wellsville, as they posted first place finishes across the board during their latest road trip to Livonia on Thursday, which was paced by a pair of wins for three different swimmers to total a 112-68 win over the host Lady Bulldogs to record their fourth straight win to open the new campaign.
Hayden Waldon, Grace Kinnicutt and Kaylee Oswald all scored a pair of wins each to propel perhaps the strongest night in the water thus far this season for the Lady Sea Lions (4-0) to begin their three-peat defense, as Waldon collected winning times in the 200 freestyle and in the 500 freestyle to assist in leading the efforts. Kinnicutt would follow up with wins of her own in the 200 individual medley and in the 100 backstroke, while Oswald placed first in the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly.
Along with a complete sweep of all three relay events, the Lady Sea Lions also garnered three more individual wins to finish off the complete sweep over Livonia, with Ashley Oswald posting the winning score off the Diving board, Morgan Mattison placing first in the 100 freestyle and a 100 breaststroke victory claimed by Allie Bidzerkowny.
The Lady Sea Lions will return to the water next Thursday night, when they hit the road once more to visit the Lady Mustangs of Dansville at 5 p.m.
200 Medley – 1. Wellsville (K. Oswald, Bidzerkowny, Kinnicutt, Budinger) 2:08.28, 2. Livonia, 3. Wellsville.
200 Free – 1. Hayden Waldon (WLSV) 2:07.99, 2. Morgan Mattison (WLSV), 3. Sophie Denney (LIV).
200 IMR – 1. Grace Kinnicutt (WLSV) 2:35.19, 2. Allie Bidzerkowny (WLSV), 3. Sophie Beikirch (LIV)
50 Free – 1. Kaylee Oswald (WLSV) 27.30, 2. Caris Sicker (LIV), 3. Kiera Mayo (LIV).
Diving – 1. Ashley Oswald (WLSV) 203.55, 2. Lily Sharp (LIV).
100 Fly – 1. Kaylee Oswald (WLSV) 1:16.15, 2. Sophie Denney (LIV), 3. Reegan Perkins (WLSV).
100 Free – 1. Morgan Mattison (WLSV) 1:00.41, 2. Kiera Mayo (LIV), 3. Gracie Eadie (LIV).
500 Free – 1. Hayden Waldon (WLSV) 5:46.86, 2. Kennedy Ewing (WLSV), 3. Laura Wood (LIV).
200 Relay – 1. Wellsville (Mattison, K. Oswald, Perkins, Waldon) 1:55.51, 2. Livonia, 3. Livonia.
100 Back – 1. Grace Kinnicutt (WLSV) 1:08.96, 2. Caris Sicker (LIV), 3. Kennedy Ewing (WLSV).
100 Breaststroke – 1. Allie Bidzerkowny (WLSV) 1:22.83, 2. Sophie Beikirch (LIV), 3. Emma Olsheski (LIV).
400 Free – 1. Wellsville (Waldon, Mattison, Kinnicutt, Budinger) 4:24.39, 2. Livonia, 3. Wellsville.