Friday Sectionals: Parks eclipses 1,000 career assists in No. 4 Lady Lions’ sweep of No. 5 Avon; No. 2 C-R survives 5-set thriller with No. 7 ND-Batavia
By CHRIS BROOKS, managing editor, wellsvillesports.com
WELLSVILLE — Maddy Parks has been a key cog in the machine for the Lady Lions behind all of their recent successes. The Wellsville senior is quite simply the engine that makes the team go. The entire offense runs directly through her, as she delivers countless setups to her teammates at the front of the net to make it all happen.
On Friday, all of that hard work perfecting her craft would pay off in the biggest of ways.
How does reaching a historic marker in her career sound?
Back on their home floor for what was the final time this season, the No. 4 Lady Lions of Wellsville made their stay worthwhile with a big night from Parks, who recorded her 1,000th career assist, as the team was not going to be denied a chance at the Class C1 Semifinal round after the weekend. To do it, they used an overwhelmingly strong start to their game in the opening set against No. 5 Avon and never looked back from that point onward, as they swept their opposition by a 25-16, 25-23, 25-20 count in the Lion’s Den.
“The first set, the girls were on and pumped,” said Lady Lions coach Shannon Steiner. “The second set, Avon started to come back into it, but we were able to bring it back to win that. Avon’s tips were setting us back a bit, but we finally gained some momentum in the third set to take the match from them. The team and I are so proud of Maddy. I’ve been lucky to have her for the last three years, and her accomplishment made for a great ending to a great first day of Sectionals.”
Parks would conclude the night for the Lady Lions (12-3) with 20 big assists to send her over the top and into the history books.
Adding more fuel to the fire for the offense was Natalie Adams, who led the way with nine kills, pairing them with two blocks and two digs. Makenna Dunbar chipped in with five more kills to go alongside four digs and a block, while Lindsay Stuck chipped in with five kills of her own to go with two aces and two digs.
The Class C1 Semifinal round is up next for the Lady Lions on Halloween night, as they prepare to travel up north to visit No. 1 Attica at a time to be determined, Tuesday.
Class D1 Quarterfinals
No. 2 Cuba-Rushford 3, No. 7 Notre Dame-Batavia 2
CUBA — Survive and advance.
That was the name of the game in Cuba-Rushford’s final home bout of the season with No. 7 Notre Dame-Batavia in town on Friday. Both the Lady Irish and Lady Rebels would trade consistent point swings across all five sets the match would witness, with all of them being decided by no more than five points.
But after it was all said and done, the Lady Rebels clawed back and pulled away towards victory in the last two sets of play to claim a 3-2 win over the Lady Irish to cement a spot in next week’s Class D1 Semifinal round.
“They were tough. It was a great match all the way around,” Lady Rebels coach Josh Tompkins said. “We were down big in the fourth set, and the girls put it together somehow mentally, and Kendall (Tompkins) went on a run of serves to help us close that up and carry that forward. I wish it didn’t have to go that way, but we need these kinds of games to get through the environment.”
The Lady Rebels (15-2) were paced by a big night of offense from Lilah Stroud, who recorded 15 massive kills against Notre Dame-Batavia to keep them off balanced on the other side on the net. Lauren O’Keefe was not too far behind herself, as she posted 10 kills to go with six digs. Up front, Kendall Tompkins was outstanding, handing out 39 assists to go with seven digs, three aces and three kills.
Cuba-Rushford now moves into the Class D1 Semifinals, where they now face No. 6 York — a team that upset No. 3 C.G. Finney in straight sets, on Tuesday at 6 p.m. right back on their home floor for the final time this season.
No. 5 Bolivar-Richburg 3, No. 4 Perry 1
PERRY — Bolivar-Richburg’s two-headed monster on the frontlines came together for another phenomenal performance to keep their run to the Finals alive on Friday, as Carmen Crowley and Kori Thomas capitained the Lady Wolverines towards triumph in dominant fashion down the stretch against No. 4 Perry, recording the eventual four-set win along the way in the Class D1 Quarterfinals by a 25-14, 21-25, 25-13, 25-12 count.
“The girls played very well together as a team,” said Lady Wolverines coach Demi Elliott. “At this point, it takes a whole team to win these games and that’s what happened tonight. The communication was great tonight, and the hitters really did well at finding the floor. I am super proud of each and every one of them. I’m excited to get back into the gym after the weekend to prepare for the Semis.”
Crowley provided a phenomenal outing on offense to pace Bolivar-Richburg (12-4) with a whopping 22 kills against Perry, pairing them with six huge blocks and five aces from the back line. Thomas followed behind with 15 kills of her own, coupling them with four blocks and four aces.
Furthering the cause for the Lady Wolverines was Brena Walp, as she posted 16 digs on defense to pair with 10 service points. Kylee Whiting added in nine more digs, while setter Hannah Mascho (seven digs, four aces) dished out 31 helpers.
On Halloween night, the Lady Wolverines will now get set for battle in the Class D1 Semifinal round, where they now travel to visit top-seeded Alexander at a time yet to be determined.
Class D2 Quarterfinals
No. 7 Houghton Academy 3, No. 2 Marion 1
MARION — The Lady Panthers of Houghton Academy had to overcome a tough fight with second-seeded Marion out of the gate over the road, Friday night. But not only did they shake it off immediately following, they completely turned the game on its head, as the No. 7 seeds sparked an upset victory with the next three sets going in their favor, claiming the 19-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-10 victory to move into the Class D2 Semifinals.
Propelling the Lady Panthers (10-8) to victory was an outstanding tenure of defense from Abby Reitnour, as she kept the ball off the floor with 21 enormous digs to go with four kills and three aces. Following up was Bella Stevens on the attack, as she posted seven kills, six aces and six more digs on defense. Katherine Lin rounded off the scoring with six kills.
Up next for Houghton Academy is the Class D2 Semifinal round on Tuesday, where they now prepare to battle the third-seeded Elba Lady Lancers on Tuesday at a time and place to be determined.
No. 3 Elba 3, No. 6 Fillmore 0
ELBA — It was a back-and-forth battle across the opening set between No. 6 Fillmore and No. 3 Elba up north on Friday. But through it all, the set would belong to the Lady Lancers, as they built all the momentum up with the victory and used it in full going forward to come away victorious in straight sets over the Lady Eagles, taking the 25-22, 25-14, 25-20 decision to end their season.
Statistics for the Lady Eagles were not made available to report upon publication.
The 2023 campaign for Fillmore has officially closed its book, as they wrap up with a record of 10-10 overall.