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Recalling Lyndonville’s sectional championship era of boys volleyball

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 27 June 2015 at 12:00 am

Contributed Photo – Members of Lyndonville’s 1974 Section V Class C champion boys volleyball team are shown here. They include, from left, Head Coach Arnold Hartsen, Jeff Wakefield, Norman Woodworth, Greg Wakefield, Scott Thurber, Paul Suhr, Dan Thurber, Doug Warner, Kevin Baadsgaard, Scott Mason, George Slusser, Mark Taylor, Scott Smith, Ernie Johnson, Paul Martin, Terry Woodworth and Assistant Coach Barry Jones. In front are managers Tim Feldman and Dave Sparks.

The recently announced plans to bring boys varsity volleyball back at Lyndonville High as a merged sport with Medina recalls the time when the Tigers spikers ruled in Section V Class C championship competition claiming three titles within a span of just seven years.

In fact, Lyndonville captured back-to-back Section V Class C boys volleyball championships in 1973 and 1974.

In the 1973 title match, Lyndonville roared out to a 10-0 lead in the opening set and went on to defeat Avoca 15-5, 15-11 at Rochester. That victory ended a six year sectional title drought for the Tigers.

In the semifinals, Lyndonville erased an early 7-0 deficit and rallied to defeat Marion 15-12, 15-6.

The Tigers, whose lineup included George Slusser, Dan Thurber, Ed Hettig, Bruce Landis, Walter Grabowski, Frank Goodrich, John Boyce, Jeff Francis, Scott Thurber, Scott Mason, Jay Huntley, Jeff Wakefield, Mark Taylor and Paul Martin, also came from behind to defeat Keshequa 15-17, 15-10, 15-4 in the quarterfinals.

Jeff Wakefield, Scott Thurber, Dan Thurber, Mason, Slusser, Taylor and Martin were also all members of the Tigers 1974 team which defeated Bolivar 15-5, 15-12 for the Class C championship at Penfield.

The Tigers, whose squad that year also included Norman Woodworth, Greg Wakefield, Paul Suhr, Doug Warner, Kevin Baadsgaard, Scott Smith, Ernie Johnson and Terry Woodworth, blew an 8-0 lead in the decisive second set before rallying from a 10-8 deficit to repeat as Section V Class C champions.

Slusser, Baadsgaard, an exchange student from Norway, Taylor and Woodworth did yeoman work in the spiking and blocking departments for the Tigers as the passing and setting of Martin, Dan and Scott Thurber and Smith keyed the offense.

In the semifinals, Lyndonville rallied to defeat Cohocton 15-7, 17-15. The Tigers downed York 15-2, 15-4 in the quarterfinals.

Just as is the case today, the Genesee Region League had no boys volleyball league. Lyndonville downed Wyoming 15-9, 15-6 for the league’s berth in the sectionals in 1973. The Tigers then defeated Kendall 15-5, 15-13 for the sectional berth in 1974.

Lyndonville earned its first Section V boys volleyball championship in 1968 when the Tigers outlasted Cohocton in a marathon 15-11, 13-15, 21-19 for the Class C title. The Tigers also needed three sets to oust Red Jacket in the semifinals 10-15, 15-4, 15-3.