One crown was easily defended, another champion was dethroned in dramatic fashion.
Lake Shore throttled Kenmore East for its second straight Class B title while No. 1 Orchard Park earned a hard-fought, come-from-behind win over third-seeded Frontier to end the Falcons’ two-year run atop Class A. The Section VI boys volleyball championships were played at Lake Shore High School on Wednesday night.
With their season on the line, down two sets to one, the Quakers stormed from behind to claim the fourth and fifth sets. They earned the school’s first boys volleyball championship since 2008.
Orchard Park led early on and appeared to be the far superior squad, cruising through the first set, 25-17, behind the imposing play of senior Graham Patterson. The air was completely different in the hyper-competitive second and third sets, as the teams exchanged points until the Falcons pulled away for two victories by the same score: 25-22.
Down two sets to one, Orchard Park co-head coach Matt Lexner had faith in his team.
“I told them they needed to be more intense,” said Lexner, who has coached Orchard Park for 34 years. “The thrill is always there. It’s the energy that they bring that keeps me coming back all the time. Those kids just work their rear ends off all year to come here, and I’m so happy for them right now.”
The crowd got behind the Quakers boisterously as the squad rallied to win the fourth set, 25-21, and fifth, 25-17, for a 3-2 match victory.
Kevin Donahue had 25 kills and Graham Patterson had 24 for Orchard Park.
The first game of the doubleheader was not nearly as tense. Kenmore East jumped to a 10-6 lead, but Lake Shore head coach John Coyle called a timeout and told his team to “loosen up.”
“They were tight,” Coyle said. “They were nervous. We were playing on our home court and there was more pressure as the higher seed. I told them: ‘Relax and things will settle, things will happen.’ ”
It worked. The No. 3 Eagles went on a 19-6 run to close the set with a 25-16 victory over the No. 4 Bulldogs. Lake Shore was in control throughout the next two sets, claiming the second, 25-19, and the third, 25-20.
Senior Ryan Joslyn’s 6-foot-4 frame and springy legs made things tough on the Bulldogs at the net. He dominated for Lake Shore, though Coyle said Joslyn – who made second-team all-conference last season – has been sick this week.
“He may not have been on his ‘A game’ tonight, but it was still enough to get us over the hump,” Coyle said. “He comes through in the clutch.”
The winners will play the Section V (Rochester area) champs Saturday in the Western Regionals at Orchard Park High School. Lake Shore will face Brighton at noon and Orchard Park will take on McQuaid at 2:30.