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S-GI volleyball clinches ECIC III title

BOIES GOES INTO BATTLE — Springville-Griffith Institute senior spiker Brittany Boies gets the ball over the net, in a recent match against West Seneca West. Photo by Dave DeLuca.

SPRINGVILLE — The Springville-Griffith Institute girls volleyball team rode a senior-laden team all the way to the Section VI B2 Championship game, a year ago. While the Lady Griffs fell to perennial power Olean, in that match, Springville finished the season 16-6. Coming into this year, Springville had to replace seven seniors; three were ECIC III all-stars.

They returned five players with varsity experience, this summer, including two starters. Springville coach John Chaddock and his team could have been in for a rebuilding year, but instead, they reloaded. With a 3-2 win against Amherst on Oct. 11, Springville clinched the ECIC III division title for the first time since 2003.

“It’s huge. Since I took over the volleyball program, I’ve been talking to these girls, since they’ve been coming up through modified, about winning,” said Chaddock. “Last year, we had a really good shot at winning it, we just couldn’t get it done. I’ve focused on [winning the division] since the first day of practice. This means a lot to the kids, to pull it out.”

Seniors Brittany Boise, Tainne Dallas and Jill Wilson have been major contributors, according the Chaddock. As juniors, the trio did not see the court very often. As seniors, they have become staples in the Lady Griffs’ starting lineup, providing quality hitting.

“I think they were able to take those experiences from last year, the success the team had, and translate it to this year,” said Chaddock, about the trio. “They all learned by watching those seniors from last year and the success they had. They came in and expected to do the same and they have. Once you start winning, it becomes more of an expectation, throughout the program.”

Springville defeated Cheektowaga on Oct. 8 in five games. The home team trailed second place Cheektowaga two games to none, but rallied to win the next three sets.

Junior Kayla Kessler had a team-high 11 kills, in the win. while Wilson and Dallas chipped in with six and seven kills, respectively.

“We started to pass the ball better,” said Chaddock, about his team coming back from two sets down. “We were able to get the ball to our setter in better places. She was able to get the ball to our hitters, for more consistent attacks. Our serving was a lot better the last three games, too.”

Against Amherst, Springville came through on top, after another five-set nail-biter. Junior Kristen Baker led the team with a season-high 11 aces and had 21 assists.

“She took control of the game after game two,” said Chaddock, about Baker. “Kristen has been playing strong for us, all year. She has just been a real tough competitor, all year long. She is just outstanding and keeps everything together. Kristen is just a great volleyball player.”

Baker is a returning second-team ECIC III all-star. As Springville’s setter, she has a number of reliable hitters. Juniors Kessler and Jenna Schunke have teamed up with Wilson, Boise and Dallas, to give them a dynamic lineup to attack, in every rotation.

“In past years, I’ve had girls that, when they came to the front row, they weren’t viable attackers,” said Chaddock. “This year, no matter what the rotation is, we’re always in good shape. We don’t have any weaknesses. That’s the main thing. We have a really good all-around team.”

Erin Kwiatkowski has started in the back row all year, as the team’s libero, while Heidi Ploetz, Katrina Kerkendall and Meg Hanrahan provide strong serving off the bench.

The S-GI ladies finished up their league schedule on Oct. 15 with a 3-1 win over East Aurora. Baker had 18 assists and five aces, while Wilson led the team with nine kills. Kessler had six blocks, in the middle.

Playoff seedings had yet to be announced, by press time.


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