Albion spikers best Roy-Hart to lock up N-O championship

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 11 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Kelsee Soule spikes against Roy-Hart’s duo of Becky Harnish (16) and Courtney VanBuren (8) during the Purple Eagles title clinching victory over the host Lady Rams this evening.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Brooke Wilson and Roy-Hart’s Harnish meet at the net.

MIDDLEPORT – Putting a lock on out right possession of the championship, Albion bested runner-up Roy-Hart 25-19, 27-25, 25-19 this evening in a key late season Niagara-Orleans League volleyball match.

The N-O championship is the second in the last four years for Albion which stays perfect at 11-0 while Roy-Hart finishes the league campaign at 9-3. The Purple Eagles last won the title in 2010 going 12-0.

Chanyce Powell had 8 blocks and 5 kills, Brooke Wilson 4 kills and 3 blocks, Kelsee Soule 5 kills and 16 digs, Meghan Hurley 4 kills and 12 digs and Michaela Lake 15 digs to lead the way for Albion.

“It feels good,” Albion coach Ann Capacci said of claiming the title out right. “They were focused about wanting to play as a team. We knew Roy-Hart would be a very worthy opponent and they pushed us to play our best.”

Albion got off to a quick start taking the opening set 25-19 as Powell served up points 14-18, Hurley 21-22 and Soule 24-25.

Battling to gt back into the match, Roy-Hart did open up a 17-11 lead midway through the second set as Courtney VanBuren served up points 8-11 and Malissa Maines 14-17. Justine Wittcop, Kirsten Bearfield and Eliza Schwab all had spiking kills during that stretch.

Albion though answered the challenge as Sara Millspaugh served up five straight clutch points (16-20), a run which included two aces and kills by Soule and Wilson, to put the Purple Eagles back on top at 20-19.

It was a tight sea-saw battle the rest of the way.

Roy-Hart went back on top 22-20 after a pair of service points by Schwab but Albion countered with four straight, the first on a kill by Soule and the next three on serves by Hurley to regain a 24-22 advantage.

Roy-Hart did regain the lead one last time at 25-23 after a pair of service points by VanBuren, the first of which was polished off by a kill by Becky Harnish.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s Morgan Jones spikes against Albion’s Chanyce Powel as Soule backs up the play.

Albion though answered back one more time as Wilson made two pressure serves to earn the Purple Eagles the marathon 27-25 win and a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

“There were some long rallies in that set,” Capacci said. “Someone stepped up for us every time.”

Roy-Hart again battled back to take a 11-8 lead mid way through the third set but again Albion was quick to answer the challenge.

This time Wilson put together a key run of five straight serve points, a run which included three aces and a kill by Powell, to put the Purple Eagles back on top to stay at 15-11.

“Brooke had a real big match for us,” Capacci said. “But everybody was solid.”

Back-to-back blocks for points by Powell helped Albion maintain a 17-13 lead and Roy-Hart could get no closer than three (21-18) after that.

Millspaugh served up back-to-back aces to up Albion’s lead to 23-17.

The Purple Eagles then quickly closed out the set and the match as Soule registered a kill for point 24 and Millspaugh a kill for point 25.

“We played great,” Capacci said. “Our goal has been to get better each match and to get one point at a time. And tonight they all played solid. They had their best effort.”

Albion closes out the N-O season at home Wednesday against Newfane.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Roy-Hart’s Justine Wittcop spikes the ball against Powell.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Celebrating their title clinching victory is Albion’s starting six including Brooke Wilson (2), Michaela Lake (20), Sara Millspaugh (5), Jasmyn Smith (17), Meghan Hurley (6) and Kelsee Soule.

Newfane 25-26-25-25, Akron 19-28-11-9
AKRON – Clare Puff had 9 kills and 16 digs, Stephanie Sherwood 8 kills and Erica Wright 13 kills and 8 assists to lead Newfane (6-5) past Akron (1-10) in four sets.

Wilson 25-25-25, CSAT 14-11-8
WILSON – Dana Smith had 7 kills and Emily Lasher 6 kills to spark Wilson (8-3) to a three set victory over CSAT (0-11).