"Chase is up there smiling. He is proud of his daddy."
Those were the words of Fredonia volleyball coach Chris Anderson following the first ever "Ace for Chase" volleyball match.
On the two-year anniversary of Anderson losing his son, Chase, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Anderson and the Lady Hillbillies raised almost $4,000 for First Candle.
OBSERVER?Photo by Roger Coda
At left is Fredonia’s Emma Thompson bumping the ball during the Lady Hillbillies’ non-league girls volleyball match against Forestville on Wednesday, at Fredonia High School. At right is Forestville’s Katrina Clugston. The two teams came together for a good cause, the first ever ‘Ace for Chase’ match to raise money for SIDS research.
"Thats an incredible amount of money," Anderson said. "On the first go round, it is incredible to say the least."
The community came out and supported the event as Anderson noted it was the largest crowd he has ever coached in front of.
"It was nice," he said. "We had a really nice turnout. A lot of people came by and surprised me that I wasn't expecting to see. It was really nice. Some graduated Fredonia players and graduated Forestville players were here. It was a really, really special night to have everyone here."
The Cassadaga Valley Lady Cougars volleyball team and members of the Chautauqua Lake volleyball team were in attendance, as well as several coaches from the county.
"You find out the coaching fraternity is a tight fraternity," Anderson said. "It was nice to see the kids understand the bigger cause than volleyball. It is such a huge thing."
Part of that coaching fraternity who was honored to be at the event was Anderson's opposing coach Jack Dugan of Forestville.
"Chris and I have been close for a long time," Dugan said. "From the time Chase was born, I got the phone call when he was born, and unfortunately made the phone call after his passing. To see Chris and Molly do what they are doing to honor their child is just inspiring. I am blessed and honored to be a part of this. I was really, really honored when he said, 'I want you to be in the first game' and have my kids here too."
"It was compete fate," Anderson noted of the way Forestville was scheduled to play on the two-year anniversary of Chase's death. "As soon as I saw it, I knew that was the night we were doing this."
Anderson has also been a travel volleyball coach for several of the Forestville players. And he noted it was special to spend the night with those players as well.
"As far as my kids, they love coach Anderson," Dugan noted. "He is an easy guy to love. It was special for them too."
As for the game, Forestville won in three, 25-21, 25-17, 25-13.
In the first game, the Lady Hornets jumped out to an 8-2 lead, but the Lady Hillbillies rallied to tie the score, 12-all. From there, it was a back-and-forth battle and the game was tied 21-all, before Dugan called a timeout.
"We always tend to start slow and we get things turned around with a couple good passes," Anderson said.
After the timeout , the visitors rattled off four straight points to take the first game.
Both teams hung tough in Game two as they battled to a 9-all deadlock. Then, Forestville went on a 6-0 run to take a 16-10 edge and never looked back.
"We have kind of struggled lately and gone back to old bad habits," Dugan said. "It's my job to correct it. The nice thing is the girls realize it. They know and are just a little flat footed and not as quick as they normally have been."
Game 3 was all Forestville as Ashley VanBuskirk helped serve up nine straight points for a 12-2 advantage.
The closest Fredonia got was 15-10, before the Lady Hornets closed it out for the 25-13 win.
Forestville was led by Amanda Weaver's 10 assists. VanBuskirk had eight assists, five digs and six aces. Alisha Szumigala added five kills and three blocks. Lizzy Gilman had four kills and three aces while Sierra Tweedie had five digs in the win.
For Fredonia, Makenzie Tarnowski's six kills and Maddy Crandall's 11 assists and two kills. Lea Richir had 15 digs for the Lady Hillbillies.
"It's been quite an amazing journey with Chris," Dugan said. "I hope this event continues to grow and it's been a blessing to be a part of it."
West Valley 18 24 26 25 25
Pine Valley 25 26 23 23 21
SOUTH DAYTON - The Pine Valley Lady Panthers (8-9, 3-7) took the first two games, but couldn't hold on as West Valley (7-10, 3-8) rallied for the five-game victory in East II girls volleyball action.
The scores read 18-25, 24-26, 26-23, 25-23, 25-21.
"It's very frustrating," Pine Valley coach Justina Troutman said. "We came out with energy and intensity. In the second game we made a few errors and the last three we made a ton of errors. West Valley fought hard."
Kayla Mansfield led Pine Valley with 18 kills and four aces. Aleah Fancher had eight kills while Aaren Waterman had 13 blocks. Ahleen Pollock added 38 assists in defeat.
For West Valley, Madison Czapla had 12 kills, five aces and 18 digs. Liz Eusterhus had 15 assists in the win.
North Collins 25 16 25 25
Silver Creek 20 25 18 23
SILVER CREEK - Nicole Torrey had 16 kills, eight digs and three aces to help North Collins (10-5, 10-2) past Silver Creek (10-7, 6-6), 25-20, 16-25, 25-18, 25-23, Wednesday during CCAA East II girls volleyball action.
Angela Filkov had 34 assists for the Lady Eagles while Jasmine Filkov had 11 kills and 10 digs.
For the Black Knights, Corra Utegg charted 20 assists and 10 digs, Jordan Brooks had seven kills and six blocks and Brooke Birner chipped in 11 kills and four aces.
Maple Grove 15 17 25 26 25
Brocton-Westfield 25 25 19 24 15
BROCTON - Maple Grove (3-15) lost the first two sets Wednesday, but battled back to take the final three as it beat Brocton-Westfield (5-12), 15-25, 17-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-15.
Jazmine Hannold had 22 points, 22 assists, four aces and four digs while Maddy Russo had 20 points, six aces and six digs to lead the Lady Red Dragons. Also for Maple Grove, Nicole Hemminger charted seven kills and three blocks while Paige Hammond chipped in seven digs and four kills.
For Brocton-Westfield, Lindsay Harp had 14 blocks, eight kills and six aces while Carson Hauser added 14 assists and two aces.