The old adage in sports that it’s tough to beat a team three times in one year rang true for one team, but not for another Tuesday night.
Fourth-seeded Sweet Home, in its gymnasium, upended ECIC II foe Williamsville East in straight sets, 25-16, 25-18, 31-29, after twice to the Flames during the season and claimed the Section VI Class A girls volleyball title, while Frontier beat Lancaster for the third time this year to win its third sectional Class AA title since 2008.
“We were actually really excited to play” Williamsville East “again because we knew what we were up against.” said Sweet Home coach Breean Martin, whose team was blown out in its last meeting with the Flames.
Fifth-year varsity player Jenna Resser led the way for Sweet Home with 13 kills and took over the third set when her team needed it most.
Down 22-18, Resser, who was easily the hardest hitter in the gym, scored five straight points for the Panthers to tie the game at 23. “I was shaking I was so nervous,” Resser said.
From there the lead changed five times before Resser took a quick pass that was unreturned to clinch the sectional title, sending the Sweet Home faithful on to the floor to celebrate with their team.
“It was her time to shine,” Martin said. “She’s been our offensive leader for five years. Being a senior, I saw it in her eyes that she was ready to take on the challenge.”
Front-row players Emma Hubert and Rachel Reusch also provided the offense for the Panthers, who won their first sectional title since 2006. Hubert had with 13 kills and four blocks, while Reusch had 11 kills and five blocks.
As thrilling a set as the third one was, the second proved pivotal.
With the score tied at 9-9, Sweet Home’s Quinn Sorrentino went on a nine-point service run to help the Panthers seize control.
Williamsville East was led by Carly Shifflet and Lexi Novak, who had 15 and 10 kills respectively.
• Frontier’s 25-22, 22-25, 25-20, 28-26 win in Class AA was capped off by a wild fourth set that saw Lancaster, knowing that could possibly be longtime head coach Sue Pernick’s last, fight back to take a 25-24 lead.
With Lancaster’s fans in a complete frenzy, Frontier’s Sydney Rojek tied the game at 25 with a kill. Mckyla Brooks hit an unreturnable blast on match point to give the Lady Falcons the win.
“What an emotional game playing against a friend I’ve known for years – went to grad school together, and someone I have the most utmost respect for,” Frontier coach Debby Schrufer said.
Brooks’ 21 kills led Frontier, with Madison Karwas putting down 12 kills and Rojek supplying 30 assists.
Pernick said her team battled the whole year and that this season is one she can hang her 24 brilliant years of coaching on, which includes seven straight state finals from 2001-2007 – including two state championships.
“It’s been great,” she said. “A great way to end a career with these bunch of kids.”
Sweet Home and Frontier return to action in Super Regional matches at Sweet Home on Saturday.
Sweet Home will take on Section V champion Pittsford Sutherland at 4 p.m., while the Falcons will face Section V champion and private school Mercy at noon.