By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
BATH — If there was any particular spot to start a championship title defense, the Livingston County Championship meet was the perfect place to start for the defending champion Lady Sea Lions of Wellsville.
Behind 11 first place finishes between individual and relay events, the three-time Class C champions in the water took complete command from start to finish to claim ultimate victory with 523 first place points over both Livonia and Letchworth/Perry, who rounded off the Top 3 in the field of competition at Bath-Haverling, Saturday afternoon.
“It was a good day to be inside and at the pool. From the start of the meet to the end, the girls had great swims all around,” said Lady Sea Lions coach Steve Hand. “It started with Ashley (Oswald) having her best 11-dive meet to date, and setting up the swimmers. Our relays set the tone and both teams in each relay gained us a lot of points. Hayden (Waldon) being Swimmer of the Meet, had very nice individual events in the IM and 500 freestyle. Grace, the Senior Swimmer, dropped times in both of her wins, and both of them contributed to the relays as well,
Hand continued on his team’s performance, adding that “Morgan (Mattison), Kaylee (Oswald) and Allie (Bidzerkowny) all got big wins for the team as well. The younger girls all stepped up and dropped time closer to the Sectional cut. I am proud and lucky to have a group of ladies that are proud to call me coach. Now it’s time to gear up and make a run for Sectionals again.”
Hayden Waldon was the meet’s top swimmer for the Lady Sea Lions, as she posted a pair of victories in individual competition, swimming towards winning times in the 200 individual medley (2:22.93) and later on in the 500 freestyle (5:41.29). Grace Kinnicutt was the other Lady Sea Lion to also record a pair of first place finishes in the water, as the meet’s top Senior Swimmer posted winning times in the 100 butterfly (1:04.86) and in the 100 backstroke (1:06.54).
Off the diving board, Ashley Oswald continued to be at her best, scoring 378.30 points to place first. Oswald will look to cap off a tremendous season on the Diving board in the Section V Diving Championships on October 28 at Churchville-Chili.
Adding some more help along the way was Kaylee Oswald, who posted a first place finish in the 50 freestyle (26.80) to pair with her second place finish in the 100 freestyle. Morgan Mattison (third, 200 freestyle) and Allie Bidzerkowny (third, 200 individual medley) both recorded first place wins in the 100 freestyle (58.97) and 100 breaststroke (1:20.51), respectively. Rounding off the secondary finishes was Kennedy Ewing, who finished third in the 500 freestyle.
The Lady Sea Lions also recorded a complete sweep of all three relay events to finish off their triumphant afternoon in the water, garnering medals in the 200 medley (2:04.85), 200 freestyle (1:50.91) and 400 freestyle (4:04.67).
Up next, some friendly competition on Tuesday against both Livonia and Palmyra-Macedon, as the team travels north to Livonia to partake in their last tune-up before the big dance in two week’s time.
The Section V, Class C Championship meet will take place at the Webster Aquatic Center on November 4, beginning at 3 p.m.
BELMONT — Although Mother Nature created less-than-ideal conditions all day long on Saturday, there was still some running outside in the cold rain to be had, as Genesee Valley/Belfast played host to the inaugural Allegany County Invitational along with Cuba-Rushford, in Belmont.
Across four different races — two each in the Modified and Varsity levels, 136 competitors helped set the stage for a race that saw a slew of racers record Top 10 finishes to pace the competition, four of them being awarded to the Rebels.
Leading the field from within the Girls field of competition was Libby Drum, who placed sixth. On the other side, Joe Wojciechowski and Alex Linn went two, three in the Top 10 for the boys, while Dean Frank helped the cause with a seventh place finish himself.
Fillmore saw one competitor eclipse the Top 10 in the boys division, as Eli Strickland placed fourth.
As for host Genesee Valley/Belfast, Lannden Tilton and Christina McAuley had the top finishes for the boys and girls teams, placing 17th and 21st respectively.
Other local individual finishes include Hornell’s Elisa Bodin (4th, Girls) and Nathan Wise (9th, Boys), and Hammondsport’s Olivia Alexander (10th, Girls).
Monday Volleyball: Redemption sought for Lady Lions on Pink Out night, capture wins last 3 sets to claim 4-set decision over B-R; Houghton edges Fillmore, C-R downed by Olean, GV/Belfast wins
WELLSVILLE — The final week of the regular season indoors on the volleyball court, has arrived.
To begin, it saw the revisiting of two Allegany County powerhouses who continue to battle at the top of the standings right underneath red hot Cuba-Rushford — winners of 11 straight games after their season-opening loss to Allegany-Limestone, entering first service Monday night.
No matter what the destination is displayed on the GPS, the two powerhouses were also two well-traveled teams. They packed the stands in Bolivar in their first meeting just recently, and now, the stands were jam-packed full in the Lion’s Den for their final meeting of the season.
And like the previous meeting, it was no different between Bolivar-Richburg and Wellsville. It was another loud, back-and-forth battle, through and through. One that saw the Lady Wolverines take the match’s first advantage behind some key defensive plays to go with a strong finish. But the Lady Lions however, used it as motivation going forward.
In the next three sets, they took total control.
Wellsville was on their game behind a hot second set start, making a run that would carry over a bounty of momentum into what was a dominant third set to push Bolivar-Richburg to the brink. When it was all said and done at the end of the night, the Lady Lions would finish the job with three straight victories, despite one final duel with the Lady Wolverines in the fourth and final set, as they floored it forward towards their 10th win of the season by a 19-25, 25-16, 25-9, 25-22 win.
“It took a bit for my girls to wake up, but once they built that momentum, it was hard for them to go down,” said Lady Lions coach Shannon Steiner. “I kept telling them to never let them pull ahead, because we always find ourselves in trouble when we do that. Once we moved to the second set, they stayed ahead and kept pushing. They clearly wanted this win, and they got it. Bolivar-Richburg is a tough team for sure, and we could not be happier with the outcome.”
It was an early advantage that Bolivar-Richburg was able to cling to through an early series of small runs to set the pace. With back-and-forth points being exchanged between the two clubs over the net, the Lady Lions (10-2) would ultimately find their way forward after the ball hit the net for a 10-9 lead. But it wasn’t long after until the Lady Wolverines pushed back out in front with five of the next six points, led by a pair of big Kori Thomas blocks, as well as a deflected ace to continue paving the momentum.
No lead in the set was ever out of reach, especially coming down the stretch. With a 19-17 lead and the Lady Lions right on their trail, the Lady Wolverines (9-3) were able to finish the job for the 1-0 match lead behind a 6-2 set-ending run.
Despite the early defeat, Wellsville was able to rally beginning in the next set with some immaculate service from the back line by Lindsay Stuck, who helped account for five of the first six points in the set. The Lady Lions went on to build on it with a couple of deflections that sailed out of play before putting the pedal to the metal on a run that saw them take a lead as big as eight before running straight towards the finish line at full speed to tie the match at one.
The momentum would remain with the hosts sporting pink, as an 8-5 lead of Bolivar-Richburg in the early stages transformed into two monstrous runs they would make in the middle and towards the end of the set to come away with a dominant 25-9 third-set finish, pushing the Lady Wolverines to the edge.
In what was the fourth and final set to close out the night, there was no stopping the Lady Lions early on, as they picked up where they left off with a massive 14-5 lead of the Lady Wolverines. But after some brief discussions on the sidelines, Bolivar-Richburg would go on and make one of their final pushes towards forcing a fifth set, climbing back into the game with a run of their own to cut the deficit down to as little as four, and then two in the midst of a dead heat in the final serves.
But Wellsville was able to grab the final point off a deflection out of play to secure redemption with a four-set win on their home floor.
The Lady Lions saw Averee Palmatier take full control of the offense, garnering 15 kills to go with two digs and a block. Makenna Dunbar chipped in with nine digs on defense to go with five kills and two blocks. Natalie Adams recorded seven digs and four kills, while setter Maddy Parks handed out a whopping 28 assists to couple with seven digs of her own.
On the other side of the net, the Lady Wolverines were paced by a 12-kill, four-block performance from Kori Thomas. Furthering the team’s cause was Carmen Crowley, who had nine kills, nine digs and six blocks. Brena Walp rounded off the scoring with 12 digs on defense, pairing them with three aces from the service line.
The color Pink was draped all around the gym and into the hallways outside in honor of Wellsville’s Pink Out game to raise awareness for breast cancer. The program is honoring Audrey Clouse, who is a survivor of breast cancer. The team has raised nearly $700 worth of proceeds, which will go to the Pink Pumpkin Project based in Olean.
Both teams are back in action Wednesday night, as Wellsville heads over the road for a colossal 7:30 p.m. clash at Cuba-Rushford, while Bolivar-Richburg looks to bounce back with a 7 p.m. visit from Houghton Academy.
Houghton Academy 3, Fillmore 1
HOUGHTON — An early back-and-forth opening set allowed Houghton Academy to spring out on top, but the Lady Eagles of Fillmore came back with a vengeance in the next to force a tie. For the remainder of the night, it would set up a teeter-totter fight to the finish on Monday in Houghton. One that the Lady Panthers were able to get just enough of an edge in to take the four-set, 25-23, 12-25, 25-21, 25-20 win on their home floor.
The Lady Panthers (7-7) were ignited by an outstanding night of offense provided by Julia Winkens, as she recorded 12 kills to pair alongside nine digs and an ace. On defense, Abby Reitnour scooped up 18 digs to keep the ball off the floor, adding them with three kills and an ace. The team’s setter, Ellie Brubaker, chipped in with 19 helpers and three aces of her own.
Fillmore (8-6) was led by Savannah Hosmer and her three kills. From the back line, Annalisa Bialek chipped in with four aces.
Both teams are back on the floor over the road Wednesday night, with Houghton Academy travelling to visit Bolivar-Richburg in a 7 p.m. first serve, while the Lady Eagles visit Hinsdale at 7:30 p.m.
Olean 3, Cuba-Rushford 1
OLEAN — The Lady Rebels survived a back-and-forth trading of points with host Olean on Monday, but the Lady Huskies would come away with a big boost of momentum to pull ahead of their opposition in the last three sets to swipe away a four-set victory — ending Cuba-Rushford’s 11-game win streak in the process with a 22-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-18 win.
Lauren O’Keefe propelled the Lady Rebels (11-2) offense with a team-high six kills, pairing them with eight digs and an ace. On defense, Jessica Ringelberg recorded seven digs to couple alongside three kills and an ace, while setter Kendall Tompkins dished out 22 assists to pair with 14 digs and four kills.
Cuba-Rushford is back at it with a titanic Senior Night showdown with Wellsville back home in the Wighthouse on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Genesee Valley/Belfast 3, Hinsdale 2
BELMONT — All five sets were required between Hinsdale and Genesee Valley/Belfast on Monday in the Jungle, with each team splitting back-to-back victories to force the decisive final set the night would see in action. In the end, enough room was garnered by the hosts to collect the 3-2 edge over the Lady Bobcats, taking the 25-20, 25-17, 18-25, 22-25, 15-9 decision.
Fronting the efforts for Genesee Valley/Belfast (4-12) was Liliana Porter-Long, who recorded eight kills and six aces. Following not far behind was Madison McKenzie, who chipped in with seven kills and seven aces. Setter Cassidy Hand helped the cause with 12 assists at the front of the net, adding eight aces from the service line and two kills to round off the scoring for the hosts.
Hinsdale (1-14) was led by Izzie Noll on defense, as she garnered 13 team-leading digs to go with one ace. Marissa Palumbo recorded three more digs to go with an ace, while Alex Goodyear had three digs, three aces and two kills to chip in. The Lady Bobcats are back in action Wednesday night with a 7:30 p.m. visit from Fillmore back home.
As for Genesee Valley/Belfast, they will return to action in quick turnaround fashion tonight with a 7 p.m. visit to Hammondsport.