It took five games, but Olean (7-1) finally showed why it's one of the top teams in the league, dispatching Fredonia 18-25, 25-15, 25-19, 12-25, 25-16, Tuesday in CCAA Division 1 girls' high school volleyball.
Fredonia (9-4, 6-3) came out firing on all cylinders, winning the first game.
Down 8-7, the Lady Hillbillies took nine of the next 10 points and built a commanding 16-9 lead they would not relinquish. One of the more bizarre plays of the match occurred in the streak when Fredonia's Michelle Napierala had the ball deflect off the net, her shoulder and back into play where her teammates pushed it across for the point.
OBSERVER?Photo by Roger Coda
Fredonia’s Aricca Lis records a spike during?Tuesday’s?CCAA?Division 1 girls’ high school volleyball match against Olean.
Amy Seybold provided another highlight in that first game with her diving dig on the back line that stalled a mini-Olean comeback. Seybold finished the night with an astounding 24 digs.
"She's always been like that," Fredonia coach Chris Anderson said of Seybold. "If nothing else, my girls will put in effort."
Olean owned the second game from start to finish. Bri Spears provided a spark early with her nifty backhand drop for a point. Then, already up 10-6, Spears earned five straight service points to give the Lady Huskies a comfortable 15-6 advantage.
See FREDONIA,?Page B3
Spears contributed 31 assists to her team's victory.
Both teams seemed to sense the importance of game three. Neither team was going to let up, but with the match advantage on the line, Olean that was able to pull away.
The Lady Huskies' biggest run came early in the game. With Emily Bantleman serving, Olean was able to take five straight points to build a 9-3 lead.
Bantleman was a big reason for Olean's success all night long as she collected eight kills, two blocks and 20 digs.
"She had a good night," Olean coach Melody Jones said. "She's a great player."
Clinging to a 21-18 lead, Olean would grab four of the last five points behind the serving of Whitney Wright to take the critical 2-1 lead.
"My team plays with heart regardless," Anderson continued. "We could be down 15, we could be down two, we could be up 10, we're still playing with the same intensity level. We play with intensity and heart and that's all you can ask for."
Game four was all Fredonia. Moreso, it was all Arrica Lis, who refused to let her team lose and led the way with 22 kills on the night.
"Arrica was a monster tonight," Anderson said. "She struggled to start the game, but as soon as she picked up that spark she was awesome. Sometimes it's just amazing how she can hit."
Fredonia won the first four points of the game and never looked back. Up 19-11, the Lady Hillbillies started raining shots down on the Olean side of the court and took the fourth game 25-12, forcing a pivotal game five.
"We just had to regroup," Jones said, referring to the break between games four and five. "They're young girls, they make mistakes. They let the ball drop thinking about something else, but you just have to regroup and compose yourself."
Regroup they did, and in impressive fashion, winning the game and clinching the match 25-16.
Early in the fifth game, it appeared as if Fredonia was going to ride its momentum to victory.
A total team effort, including a fierce finish from Lis, led the Lady Hillbillies to a 2-0 lead.
With circumstances looking bleak and momentum totally against them, the Lady Huskies dug deep and showed why they're one of the top two teams in the league.
After fighting to knot the score, 9-9, Olean went on a 9-3 for an 18-12 lead and really took the wind out of Fredonia's sails.
"One of the things that kills us every game is serving," Anderson said. "You can't expect to miss 14 or 15 serves and expect to win on any given night, especially against a good team like Olean."
Anderson called a timeout to try and regroup his girls, but Olean was not to be denied.
The teams traded a couple of punches after the break, but Sydney Allen's cross-court kill put the game away as the Lady Huskies celebrated their victory.
Allen was dynamic, finishing with 14 kills and really controlling the front court.
"Sydney had a really strong night," Jones said. "She was a strong force at the net."
"We played hard," Anderson continued. "We came out a little flat in the first game. I'm really happy with the girls that they came back and fought hard to take back the second game."
Fredonia lost a chance to improve its playoff standing, but Anderson wasn't too distraught.
"Six wins is a good place to start," he said. "I'd like to pick up a couple more to get some power points. I'd like to have a home (playoff) game."