Ni­a­gara Wheat­field wins re­gional

Vol­ley­ball team ral­lies for vic­tory in four games

The Buffalo News - - HIGH SCHOOLS - NEWS STAFF RE­PORTS

Bat­tling a strong Iron­d­e­quoit ef­fort, the Ni­a­gara Wheat­field girls vol­ley­ball team came back from a 25-17 first set loss to win three straight and de­feat the Ea­gles 26-24, 25-18, and 25-13 in the Class A Far West Re­gional matchup at Web­ster Thomas High School.

Af­ter fail­ing to stop the Ea­gles’ of­fen­sive at­tack in the first set, the Fal­cons man­aged to squeak by.

The third and fourth sets were dom­i­nated by the Fal­cons, how­ever, who con­trolled the lead for a ma­jor­ity of the fi­nal sets.

“I told ev­ery­one it would be tough,” Fal­cons coach Brandi Cochran said re­gard­ing the team con­ver­sa­tion af­ter the first set. “They had the hunger to win and came out ready.”

Cochran said that the team was off its game dur­ing the first set, but im­proved its pass­ing and found a groove in set two. “We served tough in the sec­ond set and stepped up the de­fense and in­ten­sity.”

She said that once the Fal­cons put pres­sure on the Ea­gles, their over­all play got bet­ter and they turned the game around.

“[The Ea­gles] didn’t know what to do,” she said.

Right side hit­ter Katie Kostiw was one player who con­tributed to the turn­around of the Fal­cons’ play.

With nine kills and six blocks, Kostiw was able to put points on the board while shut­ting down the Ea­gles’ at­tack.

Jenna Sonnenberg, the Fal­cons’ libero, had 26 digs in the vic­tory.

“Jenna’s al­ways a re­ally solid player,” said Cochran.

“She’s su­per con­sis­tent, and I know I’m her coach, so it may not seem un­bi­ased, but I think she’s one of the best liberos in the state. She can play with any­one.”

Hav­ing won the re­gional, Ni­a­gara Wheat­field will travel for the state cham­pi­onships later this month.

In the Class AA re­gional match, the Or­chard Park Quak­ers lost in four sets to Vic­tor High School of Sec­tion V, 25-20, 18-25, 14-25, 21-25.

Kate Hen­nessy had four kills and four digs in the loss and Han­nah Rauh added three kills with two digs.

De­spite an eight-point lead in the first set, in which they got the vic­tory, the Quak­ers could not hold on to their mo­men­tum through the next three sets.

It be­gan when the Blue Devils took an 8-7 lead in the sec­ond set.

They mounted a six-point ad­van­tage, forc­ing the Quak­ers to take a time­out, and never looked back, win­ning the set by seven.

The Blue Devils took an early 5-1 lead in the third set to keep the Quak­ers from re­bound­ing early.

Vic­tor main­tained lead, and then went on a run, win­ning the set by an 11-point mar­gin.

The Quak­ers ap­peared to have re­gained con­trol for the fourth set, keep­ing a steady lead through­out, un­til the Blue Devils grabbed their first lead of the set, mak­ing the score 13-12.

The Quak­ers kept it close, but could not re­gain the lead, fall­ing to the Blue Devils once more, 25-21, the clos­est set of the evening.

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