Albion spikers bow in Class B final

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Chanyce Powell (10) spikes the ball against Starpoint’s Erica Bradley (8) and Jenna Faulkner (7) as Sara Millspaugh (5) waits for a return during the Purple Eagles Section VI Class B title match loss to the Lady Spartans this evening at Sweet Home.

AMHERST – Unable to rebound from an ice cold start, No. 2 seed Albion bowed 25-15, 25-23, 25-17 to No. 8 Starpoint this evening in the Section VI Class B volleyball championship match at Sweet Home.

Setting the tone at the outset, Starpoint used a strong spiking game to jump out to a commanding 14-2 lead in the opening set.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Millspaugh spikes against Starpoint’s Katie Jastrzab and Faulkner.

Albion did cut the deficit a bit to seven at 16-7 as Kelsee Soule and Chanyce Powell had kills and Aleah Foos a block and kill.

However, the Purple Eagles could get no closer as Starpoint, continuing to get big kills at the net for points, used a 9-6 run to close out the 25-15 victory.

“They attacked and we didn’t,” Albion coach Ann Capacci said. “You can’t spot a team like Starpoint a 12 point lead and expect to win. That was too deep to get out of that hole.”

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Meghan Hurley (6) meets Jastrzab at the net.

Albion though did come battling back in the second set.

Aces by Jasmyn Smith and Meghan Hurley, along with kills by Soule and Sara Millspaugh and a block and a kill by both Foos and Powell, kept Albion close at 12-15 midway through the set.

Starpoint used a 6-1 run to stretch the advantage to 21-13 but Albion refused to fold.

Powell sparked Albion’s comeback with big run of seven straight service points (15-21), a run which was highlighted by two kills by Millspaugh, a block by Foos and an ace, which rallied the Purple Eagles into a 21-21 tie.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players celebrate a Purple Eagles spiking kill including Jasmyn Smith (17), Michaela Lake (20), Hurley, Kelsee Soule (4), Aleah Foos (12) and Millspaugh.

Albion stayed even at 22-22 and again at 23-23 but could not break into the lead again as Starpoint claimed the narrow 25-23 victory getting point 24 on a side-out and point 25 on a kill.

“We just came up a little short in the second set,” said Capacci. “Losing that second set was big. If we can win that we even the match so it was key.”

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Soule goes against Starpoint’s Aren Schwab at the net.

Continuing to battle, Albion used kills by Hurley, Soule and Powell to stay close at 9-11 in the third set before rallying into the lead in the match for the first time at 13-11 on a four point run of service points by Smith.

A kill by Millspaugh and a block by Foos helped to keep Albion on top 17-15 but the Purple Eagles could not hold the advantage.

After getting the side-out on a kill, Starpoint quickly closed out the set and the match behind big run of nine straight points by Aren Schwab (17-25).

“They played better than we did,” Capacci said. “You have to either attack the ball or return it and they attacked and we didn’t.”

Undefeated (12-0) Niagara-Orleans League champion Albion advanced to the finals for the second time in the last three years by defeating No. 7 Iroquois in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Cheektowaga in the semifinals while Starpoint bested top seeded Springville in the quarters and No. 4 Depew in the semis.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion head coach Ann Capacci and assistant coach Charlie Croff meet with the Purple Eagles during a time out.