Albion spikers win five set sectional thriller
ALBION – In a tight sea-saw five set thriller, No. 2 seed Albion edged past No. 7 Iroquois 25-22, 23-25, 25-22, 15-25, 25-18 this evening in the quarterfinals of the Section VI Class B volleyball playoffs.
Trailing 14-12 in the decisive fifth set, Albion got a huge clutch run of nine straight service points by Kelsee Soule, a run highlighted by two spiking kills and a block by Chanyce Powell, to open up a commanding 23-12 advantage and put a virtual lock on the win.
“That run was really the turning point for us,” Albion Coach Ann Capacci said. “That put us back on track.”
Soule and Brooke Wilson both finished with seven kills for points, Powell six kills and six blocks and Leah Foos three kills.
Albion also got off to a strong start in the marathon match taking the opening set 25-22 as Soule had three kills and Powell and Wilson two each. That flurry of kills, along with back-to-back service aces by Michaela Lake helped vault the Purple Eagles out to s 16-8 lead.
Iroquois did rally back to within two at 24-22 but Soule registered a timely kill for the set winner. Meghan Hurley also registered key ace for point 24.
“Absolutely it was a marathon,” Capacci said. “They gave us all we wanted but our kids don’t quit.”
The second set saw Albion rally from a big 16-7 deficit into a brief 23-22 lead but could not keep the momentum as the Lady Chiefs countered with three points in a row to take the set 25-23 and knot the match. Two aces by Wilson, along with one each by Soule and Hurley, helped key Albion’s rally.
The Purple Eagles though got rolling again in the third set posting a narrow 25-22 victory. Wilson, Hurley and Soule had key kills and Powell a block for points to highlight that win.
However, Iroquois again answered right back this time with a lopsided 25-15 win in the fourth set to reknot the match at 2-2.
The sea-saw battle continued in the decisive fifth set as Albion, which played without starter Sarah Millspaugh who was at the national FFA convention, jumped out to an early 8-3 lead sparked by two blocks by Powell, and aces by Soule, Jasmyn Smith and Powell, only to see Iroquois quickly rally into a 10-10 tie.
“We were without Sarah so we had to shuffle things around a bit but everyone stepped up,” Capacci said.
The teams then traded solo points before Soule and Powell teamed up for the decisive 9-0 run which vaulted the Purple Eagles out to a 23-12 advantage and lock up the win.
“That was a good combination,” Capacci said. “I was a little worried they way we played in the fourth set but they battled back and rose to the occasion. They played hard and they played smart. They rallied around each other and played together as a team. I’m really proud of the way they battled back.”
Albion will next host No. 3 Cheektowaga at 6 p.m. Friday in the quarterfinals.
Cheektowaga, which ousted Amherst in three sets in another quarterfinal, trimmed Albion in a regular season ending non league match a week ago in five sets.