SPIKE IT LIKE YOU MEAN IT — Tainne Dallas, who was named a second-team all-star, sends the ball over the net, during a recent match. Photo by Dave DeLuca.
SPRINGVILLE — After leading the Springville-Griffith Institute volleyball team to its first division title in 10 years, three Lady Griffs have been recognized for their contributions to the squad. Junior Kristen Baker and senior Erin Kwiatkowski have been named Erie County Interscholastic Conference III first-team all-stars, while senior Tainne Dallas was named a second team all-star. All three players had key roles in leading Springville to an 11-1 league record, according to Coach Jon Chaddock.
Baker, a two-year start at setter, made second-team, as a sophomore. As a junior, Baker led the team in a number of categories, including aces per game, assists per game and service points. She averaged four aces and 24 assists, per match, on her way to taking home all-division honors.
“Like on a football team, she’s the quarterback,” said Chaddock, about his junior standout. “She makes things go; she makes things click. Every offensive play counts on her. She’s smart, she’s savvy and she does everything that she needs to do. It’s a huge, huge benefit to have a kid like that, to do all those things.”
Baker will return next year, as three-year starter for Springville, to anchor the senior class.
“If I didn’t have her, I’d really be stretched to find someone who can set the ball,” said Chaddock. “She’s just that all-around player that makes everything go. Having her next year is going to be huge.”
Kwiatkowski was Springville’s other first-team selection. She led the team, with five digs per game, and was second on the team, in service points
“She’s very athletic,” said Chaddock, about Kwiatkowski. “She brings a lot of athleticism to that back row. She’s quick; she’s aggressive. I think, when other coaches in our division nominated her, they saw someone who was very athletic and brought a good presence to the back row. She’s worked very hard on her passing and she’s a very good passer, as well.”
Dallas, a second-team all-star, averaged a team-high five-and-a-half kills per game and was third on the team, in service points. As the team’s right outside hitter, Dallas was Baker’s favorite target.
“Kristen just set the ball perfectly to her, all year, and Tainne was able to take advantage of that,” Chaddock explained. “She did everything we needed her to do. She played every play of every game. She passed the ball well, from the back row, she played well in the front row; she blocked the ball well.”
Chaddock noted that Dallas was named the team’s Most Improved Player, at season’s end. While all three players led Springville in key statistical categories, their leadership was just as important, according to Chaddock. Baker and Kwiatkowski entered the year, as Springville’s only returning starters, while Dallas was a returning senior.
“All three were leaders for our team,” said Chaddock. “When I need someone to step up, Tainne stepped up; Erin stepped up. Kristen leads by example and by her play; that’s what you need to win a championship. You need that kind of leadership.”