JAMESTOWN - As the top-seeded Ellicottville Lady Eagles recorded the final point to sweep second-seeded North Collins, 25-10, 25-8, 25-7 in the Section 6 Class D-2 girls volleyball championship match at Jamestown Community College on Monday, there was very little celebration after the match that lasted less than an hour.
Maybe because that is where Ellicottville planned on being.
How they got there however, was probably unimaginable to many.
Photo by Lisa Monacelli
Ellicottville’s Janae Hamilton makes a play at the net in her team’s game against North Collins in the Section 6 Class D-2 championship game, held Monday at Jamestown Community College.
The Lady Eagles have cruised to a 21-0 record this season and have only lost one game - when they defeated Cattaraugus-Little Valley in the second match of the season.
"I'm not sure it's been easy at times," Ellicottville coach Kelly Unverdorben said. "We have had some tough teams in there with Randolph and Cattaraugus-Little Valley. Our league however, was very easy this year. The teams we played outside of that gave us some competitive matches."
The opening game looked as if it could be competitive as North Collins played Ellicottville tough, as it trailed just 9-8. However, from there, the No. 1 seed went on a 16-2 run to put the game out of reach.
"We tend to do that the first set," Unverdorben said. "We have done that all year, but they get it back together and are good to go."
"We are a young team," North Collins coach David Burgstahler said. "Nerves got the best of us in the first set. We prepared the best we could. Experience counts for something. They have been here before and we haven't."
Making matters difficult for Burgstahler and North Collins were the twin towers of 6-foot-1 senior Janae Hamilton and 6-2 junior Courtney Scanlon.
Scanlon finished with three aces, 22 kills and three blocks while Hamilton had 12 kills and four blocks in the win.
"They are my guns," Unverdorben said. "Courtney has played for me for four years. She plays on my club team as well. We have been working that middle with her for a very long time. Janae is just a born athlete. She has herself a nice vertical jump."
The first two times the two teams met, Ellicottville used its power to down North Collins, according to Burgstahler. On Monday, Ellicottville showed off some finesse with some soft tips to an open spot on the floor as well as its power.
"Everyone on their team is swinging away," Burgstahler said. "Their setter (Grace Hall, who had 28 assists) did a great job distributing the ball. They hit smart. Not only did they bring power, but they tipped it to the right spot and kept us guessing where to go. We did a lot to prepare for their hard attacks. Then they mixed it up on us and threw us for a loop. The first two times they were all power so we prepared for that and they mixed it up on us. They played smart."
In the second game, Ellicottville jumped out to a 10-2 advantage and never looked back in the 25-8 dismantling. Meanwhile, in the third, the Lady Eagle scored the first seven points for the 25-7 win and a trip to the Class D crossover game against Chautauqua Lake/Cattaraugus-Little Valley on Thursday.
In last year's crossover, Ellicottville lost to Randolph.
As for North Collins, Burgstahler will be losing two seniors in Christine Blidy and Ashley Trainor, but is very excited about the future of his team.
"That's one of the things I kept telling them," he continued. "Keep your heads up. We are a young team and have such a great opportunity to get almost the entire lineup back. We have a lot of depth the next couple years."
Blidy led North Collins with seven assists and six service points while Jasmine Filkov had three service points in a losing effort.