Albion spikers celebrate two title season

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 13 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Bruce Landis – Albion’s N-O League and Section VI Class B2 champion volleyball squad includes, in front from left, Olivia Neidert, Morgan Ferris, Kelsee Soule, Sara Millspaugh, Meghan Hurley and Kassidy Hastings. In back are Elizabeth Bentley, Assistant Coach Charlie Croff, Mallory Broda, Chanyce Powell, Aleah Foos, Kara Bentley, Tyquesha Jackson, Head Coach Ann Capacci and Ashlee Bocach. Missing from the photo are Emillie Barleben and Kaitlyn VanSkiver.

Anchored by a quartet of returning starters the Albion volleyball team captured a pair of championships this past season as the Purple Eagles claimed both the Niagara-Orleans League and Section VI Class B2 titles compiling a 19-2 overall record.

That veteran foursome included senior Sara Millspaugh, juniors Meghan Hurley and Kelsee Soule and sophomore Chanyce Powell.

Seniors Olivia Neidert and Mallory Broda along with juniors Aleah Foos, Ashlee Bocach and Elizabeth Bentley helped to round out the Purple Eagles starting group.

The Purple Eagles roster also included seniors Morgan Ferris and Tyquesha Jackson, juniors Kara Bentley and Kassidy Hastings and sophomores Emilie Barleben and Kaitlyn VanSkiver.

“I’m just extremely proud of our kids. They’ve been working hard all year long,” said Coach Ann Capacci. “We had great leadership from our captains and some great team chemistry and there’s no substitute for that.”

The Purple Eagles attack included Powell with 148 spiking kills, 47 service aces, 67 block and 99 digs, Soule (182 kills, 250 digs, 62 aces, 22 assists), Millspaugh (100 kills, 102 digs, 35 aces), Hurley (268 assists, 169 digs, 65 kills, 40 aces, 19 blocks), Foos (57 kills, 47 blocks), Neidert (145 assists, 60 digs, 20 aces), Elizabeth Bentley (47 digs, 10 aces), Bocach (50 digs) and Broda (10 digs, 9 kills, 8 aces).

Albion compiled a perfect 12-0 record to notch a second straight undefeated N-O League championship season.

“Going undefeated in winning the league back to back is huge,” said Capacci. “It is a very competitive league and that is good because the competition helps make everybody better.”

Keeping the momentum, Albion then claimed a sectional title for the second time in four years by scoring three straight set victories besting Dunkirk in the quarterfinals, East Aurora in the semifinals and Cheektowaga in the title match. Ironically the Purple Eagles also defeated Cheektowaga to claim the B1 title in 2011.

“Their goal this year was to win the sectionals,” said Capacci in noting the Purple Eagles had extra incentive after finishing second to Starpoint in last year’s Class B playoffs. “They weren’t happy last year with those second place patches so they really made winning the class sectionals their goal. We just had great athletes with a great attitude and great team chemistry.”

Albion did bow in three sets to B1 champion Williamsville South for the Section VI berth in the state playoffs.