Eden’s volleyball players probably spent more time doing their homework on Wednesday night than it took to win a sectional title.
The Raiders disposed of Falconer in 61 minutes to win the Section VI Class C title, their 14th consecutive crown, in a match played at Sweet Home. Falconer had just nine kills in the three games won by Eden, 25-11, 25-13, 25-15. In the later match, Olean moved to 23-1 with a 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 win over Iroquois in Class B.
Falconer was only two years (2010) removed from winning the Class C crown, but on this night they were no match for Eden, a team that has won the last three New York State titles.
“They surgically pick you apart with their serve,” said Falconer coach Darin Kennedy, whose team finished 14-6. “They serve pin high, they work the ball around, they find a weak link or a weak communication line, they serve it there and they take you out of your system.”
Eden was led by Lydia Baake with 22 assists, Heather Holscher with 14 kills and Lainy Pierce with five aces.
“I was concerned about this match and the Wilson match in the semis, two good teams, not playing at home, and the girls rose to the level,” said Eden coach Stephen Pierce. “They played very efficiently, they covered the floor well, they didn’t let balls drop. We touched a lot of balls on the block, which made it easier on our defense.”
Pierce cited junior Megan McCarthy for her fine play, saying she controlled the net well and had a least five stuff blocks.
Eden (28-9-3) will play Waterloo (17-4) of Section V tonight at 6 at Genesee CC in the Far West Regionals. The winner will play Saturday at Jamesville-DeWitt against Section III at 1 p.m.
Eden won ECIC IV this year with a 12-0 record and won its share of tournaments, but Holscher seems to think her team may be playing its best volleyball right now.
“It felt like we’re playing together, playing like a team,” she said. “Some of our previous matches we weren’t talking and we scrambled, and it showed on the court, and we lost to teams that we shouldn’t have.”
For Olean, the title was its first since the program began in 1996. It beat Iroquois in two close games in the Cheektowaga Tournament. The Chiefs were just as tough in this one.
“I think my girls were very motivated,” Olean coach Melody Jones said. “It’s a newer program. We have nothing to lose, every step is a step beyond where they’ve been. They fight back, they’ve done a lot of that this season.”
Bri Spears had 18 assists and eight digs. Emily Bantelman has 12 digs while Janelle Shaffer added 11 digs and six kills.
Iroquois, making its first trip to a sectional final, ends its historic season 13-8. It was led by Kara Caparaso with seven digs.
Olean will play Midlakes (17-5) of Section V in the Far West Regionals tonight at 7:30 at Genesee CC. The winner will play Saturday at Jamesville-DeWitt against Section III at 3 p.m.