Albion spikers claim Class B2 crown

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 4 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players and coaches proudly display their Section VI Class B2 championship plaque after scoring a straight set victory over Cheektowaga this evening in the title match at Lockport High School. In front are Olivia Neidert, Morgan Ferris, Kelsee Soule, Sara Millspaugh, Meghan Hurley and Kassidy Hastings. In back are Head Coach Ann Capacci, Emilie Barleben, Aleah Foos, Kara Bentley, Chanyce Powell, Elzabeth Bentley, Malory Broda, Ashlee Bocach, Kaitlyn Vanskiver and Assistant Coach Charlie Croff.

Jumping out to big leads in each set, No. 2 seed Albion romped to a 25-9, 25-19, 25-16 victory over No. 4 Cheektowaga in the Section VI Class B2 championship match this evening at Lockport High School.

Improving to 19-1 on the season, Albion dominated at the net as Chanyce Powell had 8 spiking kills and 4 blocks, Kelsee Soule and Sara Millspaugh both had 5 kills and Aleah Foos 2 kills and 6 blocks.

Powell also had 4 service aces, Meghan Hurley 3, Soule and Olivia Neidert 2 and Millspaugh 1.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion players and fans celebrate the championship match victory.

The sectional title was the second in the last four years for Albion and ironically the other also came over Cheektowaga in 2011.

“The kids played very well. We knew it would be a battle but they came ready to play,” said Albion Coach Ann Capacci. “We executed very well and everyone put forth a great effort.”

Albion will now face Class B1 champion Williamsville South for the Section VI Class B berth in the state playoffs at 6 p.m. Thursday at Lockport. Williamsville South bested Starpoint in three straight sets for the B1 title in the first match of the evening.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Kelsee Soule goes after the ball.

Setting the tone at the outset, Albion jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first set behind the serving of Soule. Powell had two kills and a block to ignite that seven point run which was capped off by back-to-back service aces by Soule.

Four point runs of service points by Powell (12-15) and Neidert (19-22) helped boost the Purple Eagles advantage to 22-6. Foos also had two blocks and a kill, Soule two kills and Powell a block and a kill to help key that surge.

Another block by Foos, followed by another kill by Powell, then helped Albion polish off the 25-8 set win.

“We got the jump on them and that was big for us,” said Capacci.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Aleah Foos blocks Cheektowaga’s Taraya Fisher (23).

Albion then broke away from a 2-2 deadlock early in the second set as Hurley had a key run of six straight points (3-8), a run which featured three aces and a kill by Millspaugh.

Aces by Powell, Millspaugh and Neidert, along with two kills by Soule and one each by Powell and Foos, helped boost the Purple Eagles advantage to 20-9.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Sara Millspuagh registers a spike for the Purple Eagles over Brittany Adamczyk of the Lady Warriors.

Two more kills, by Soule and Millspaugh, made it 24-13 before Cheektowaga put together a six point run to briefly cut the deficit to 24-19.

However, the Lady Warriors would get no closer as Foos closed out the set with a block giving the Purple Eagles a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Soule sets over the net against Cheektowaga’s Jena Ponosny.

Following the pattern of the first two sets, Albion jumped out to an 11-6 lead in the third set. Hurley served up points 4-7 during that stretch which also featured two kills by Millspaugh, along with a block, a kill and an ace by Powell.

Cheektowaga did rally back to within one at 11-10 but the Lady Warriors could not pull even.

Albion answered the challenge with a key run of five straight points by Neidert (13-17), a run which featured two big saves at the net for points by Soule along with a block by Foos.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Olivia Neidert sets the ball for the Purple Eagles.

Cheektowaga again made a brief run but could get no closer than 17-14.

Continuing to dominate at the net, Albion quickly closed out the set and the match as two kills by Powell earned points 21 and 22. Another kill by Millspaugh then earned point 24 and Soule followed up with another kill to polish off the set and match

winning 25th point.

“They played well,” said Capacci. “They were ready to play, they executed and they did the little things.”

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Meghan Hurley serves up a point for Albion.

The title appearance was the fourth in the last five years for Albion which lost to Eden in 2010, defeated Cheektowaga in 2011 and lost to Starpoint last year.

The Purple Eagles advanced to the title match by scoring three set victories over No. 7 Dunkirk in the quarterfinals and over No. 3 East Aurora in the semifinals.

Cheektowaga upended top seeded Depew in five sets in the other B2 semifinal.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Albion’s Chanyce Powell spikes over Cheektowaga’s Shawnn Foster.

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Powell and Millspaugh go up to block Foster.