Weekly Feature



2017-11-08 / Sports

East girls volleyball wins fourth straight section title


Williamsville East’s girls volleyball team defeated Niagara-Wheatfield 25-23, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18 in Thursday’s Section VI Class A final at Daemen College. It was the Lady Flames’ fourth consecutive section title. Members include, from left, first row, Trinity Sullivan, Skyllar Cicero, Rachel Steffan, Makayla Greenfield, Allison Jozwiak and Diana Stone; second row, coach Scott Wright, Nikki Polokoff, Summer Clark, Emma Vande Velde, Grace Degan, Christy Mack, Gracie Wendell, Madison Smith and Madeline Reid. Williamsville East’s girls volleyball team defeated Niagara-Wheatfield 25-23, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18 in Thursday’s Section VI Class A final at Daemen College. It was the Lady Flames’ fourth consecutive section title. Members include, from left, first row, Trinity Sullivan, Skyllar Cicero, Rachel Steffan, Makayla Greenfield, Allison Jozwiak and Diana Stone; second row, coach Scott Wright, Nikki Polokoff, Summer Clark, Emma Vande Velde, Grace Degan, Christy Mack, Gracie Wendell, Madison Smith and Madeline Reid. Another year, another sectional title for Williamsville East’s girls volleyball team.

The Lady Flames won their fourth consecutive section title after beating Niagara Wheatfield, 25-23, 19-25, 25-12, 25-18 in Thursday’s Class A final at Daemen College. East has appeared in the past five section finals.

“Niagara-Wheatfield put us to the test,” East coach Scott Wright said. “Their defense was the best we faced all year. It took us a long time to break it down and figure it out. We settled down after the second game.”


Williamsville East’s Ally Jozwiak puts down a kill in the Lady Flames’ three-set home win over Williamsville South in the Section VI Class A semifinals Oct. 30. Williamsville East’s Ally Jozwiak puts down a kill in the Lady Flames’ three-set home win over Williamsville South in the Section VI Class A semifinals Oct. 30. East entered the match as the No. 1 seed and top-ranked team in the Western New York coaches’ poll. Niagara Wheatfield was the No. 2 seed and ranked seventh in the coaches poll. The win improved the Lady Flames’ overall record to 18-2.

East was led by its three captains. Makayla Greenfield’s all-around game was on full display as she recorded 46 assists and a team-high 15 digs. Rachel Steffan finished with an impressive 32 kills, hitting .339 for the match. Allison Jozwiak contributed 12 kills, 13 digs and a team-high 14 aces. Other contributors for the Lady Flames included Christy Mack (14 digs, one ace), Madeline Reid (four blocks), and Summer Clark (two kills, six digs).


Williamsville South’s Naomi DeBerry (16) and Hannah Abramowitz (4) put up a solid block during the Lady Billies’ three-set loss to Williamsville East in the Section VI Class A semifinals Oct. 30. 
Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Williamsville South’s Naomi DeBerry (16) and Hannah Abramowitz (4) put up a solid block during the Lady Billies’ three-set loss to Williamsville East in the Section VI Class A semifinals Oct. 30. Photos by Kathleen KramerPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com In set one, a serving run from Mack put East in front 5-1. Niagara-Wheatfield went on a run of its own to take a 16-11 lead. Two kills from Steffan cut the lead to 17-15. The Lady Flames trailed 21-19, but won the next five points, including a kill from Steffan, and a kill and an ace from Jozwiak. A kill from Steffan gave the Lady Flames the set, 25-23.

In set two, Niagara-Wheatfield took control early, building a 9-5 lead. A block from Reid, a Reid/Clark shared block, a kill from Jozwiak, and two kills from Steffan tied the score at 10-10. Niagara Wheatfield responded by winning four of the next five points to take a 15-11 lead. The Lady Flames would get no closer than three points and lost the set, 25-19.

With the momentum in Niagara Wheatfield’s favor, set three would be crucial, with the winner taking control of the match. With East ahead 8-7, the Lady Flames won the next nine points, including three consecutive aces from Jozwiak, and three kills from Steffan. Kills from Jozwiak and Steffan extended the lead to 21-11, and the Lady Flames would go on to win the set, 25-12.

In set four, East started flat and Niagara-Wheatfield took a 6-1 lead. Trailing 8-4, the Lady Flames won the next 10 points behind a Steffan serving run.

Niagara-Wheatfield battled back to close within two at 17-15. A block from Reid and a kill from Steffan pushed the lead back to four. Four kills from Steffan extended the lead to 24-17, and her final kill of the match gave the Lady Flames the title, 25-18.

The win advances East to the Class A Far West Regional, where they will face Section V Irondequoit at 8 p.m. Thursday at Daemen College. The winner advances to the state finals Nov. 18-19 in Glens Falls.

East reached the section final for the fifth consecutive year after beating cross-town rival Williamsville South, 25-19, 25-22, 25-15, in the semifinals at home Oct. 30.

“They gave us a lot of trouble,” Wright said. “We had to play well to win.”

East received strong performances from Jozwiak (21 kills, 20 digs), Steffan (17 kills, 18 digs), and Greenfield (37 assists, 10 digs).

Greenfield reached another major milestone, recording her 1,000th assist for the season. She has recorded 1,000 assists in each of her three seasons as the starting setter for East. Her career assist total is 3,356.

In set one, East got off to a slow start and trailed 6-2. A five-point serving run from Mack put the Lady Flames up 8-6.

South battled back to tack a 13-11 lead but East regained the momentum, taking a 17-14 lead behind kills from Steffan, Jozwiak and Reid. South won the next three points to make the score 17-17.

Three kills from Steffan and one from Jozwiak gave the Lady Flames the next four points and a 21-17 lead, and the Lady Flames went on to take the set, 25-19.

In set two, the teams traded points early. With the score tied 7-7, Jozwiak recorded four kills to give East the 12-8 lead.

South responded by winning the next four points to tie the score at 12-12. The two teams again traded points and South took a 19-18 lead. The Lady Flames responded by winning the next five points. South cut the lead to 23-22, but Jozwiak’s two kills gave the Lady Flames the set, 25-22.

South coach Tom Sproull said his team should have won the second set.

“We forced them to call both of their timeouts and we made a couple nice passes but we had some unforced errors,” Sproull said. “It was there for the taking.”

In set three, East led 6-5 when Greenfield went on a nine-point serving run to give them a comfortable 15-5 lead. The run included four kills from Steffan and two kills from Jozwiak.

A shared block from Reid and Summer Clark extended the lead to 18-9.

A final kill from Jozwiak gave the Flames the set, 25-15.

Megan Muelhbauer led South’s offense with nine kills. Maddie Popielski added six kills and Amari DeBerry added five kills.

Sproull thought his team played well overall but said his team did not do a good enough job putting up a block, tallying only four as a team.

South finished 13-7 and only graduates two seniors — Grace Stahl and Naomi De- Berry.

(Reporter Patrick J. Nagy contributed to the article.)

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