Fredonia pulls out 5-set win in thriller over Dunkirk

’Billies, barely

OBSERVER Photos by Ron Szot Dunkirk’s Hannah Ellman sets a teammate.

The rivalry of the Fredonia Hillbillies and Dunkirk Marauders volleyball teams were in full force on Thursday night as they engaged in a five set battle with multiple momentum swings. Fredonia survived a close five set match at home 25-18, 23-25, 25-16, 22-25, 25-18.

Fredonia was able to take advantage of a few Dunkirk mistakes early as they took control of the first set. Dunkirk responded in the second set with a great comeback. Down 18-14, Dunkirk was able to tally the next seven points behind two blocks from Amari Carter along great leadership and passing from Jessica Beehler. Fredonia made a late surge, but on set point, Fredonia served the ball directly into the net to pull the match even at one set all. “We got tight in some situations,” said Fredonia coach Amanda Krakowiak. “The little things count more and it is noticeable as the match progresses.”

Fredonia (1-1) took control of the third set out of the gate with many quick points from great serves that provided the Hillbillies with some ace, but also put them in great position during the rally. “We had moments where we performed really well,” said Krakowiak. “I think at times we got complacent and did not compete at the same level for the entire match. However, Dunkirk did great with the serve return. We had some great serves that they were able to retrieve and get into an offensive position.”

In the fourth set, Dunkirk (0-2, 1-2) was down 12-6 when Nadara O’Dell came to the line and behind her serving and great teamwork, Dunkirk put together ten straight points to take a 16-12 lead. Dunkirk was able to continue that momentum to go up 24-18. Fredonia put together a late surge to bring the Hillbillies within two, but Dunkirk went to its strengths by the net to secure the set. “I am so proud of how the girls battled today,” said Dunkirk coach Kodi Hoyt. “There were times we could have given up, but they battled their way back. It is great to see their effort that they left on the floor.”

Dunkirk kept the momentum going early in the fifth set as the Marauders took an 11-6 lead. At that point, Fredonia put together ten consecutive points of its own behind great serving from Nagely Vazquez. “Her serving was a huge turning point in the game,” Krakowiak stated. “She had that focused look in her eyes and turned up the heat, which helped us to close out the victory.” Fredonia closed the door on Dunkirk as Anna Valone finished the match with two consecutive aces.

The Hillbillies were led by outside hitter, Valone who finished the game with five aces, nine kills and 11 digs. According to Krakowiak, “Anna Valone has worked hard on her game. She swings hard and did great with a strong attack. It is great that she is a very consistent player and reliable.” Vazquez chipped in with six aces, six kills and two blocks, while Maggie Mignoli contributed with eight aces, five kills, and nine digs.

The Marauders were led by their usuals, Beehler and Hannah Ellman who added six assists each. Amari Carter chipped in with five blocks and Nadara O’Dell tallied four aces, four kills, three blocks, and three digs. “Beehler and Makayla Gugino did a great job of playing their role as a captain,” said Hoyt. “There were times that we were down and struggled to get back up, but they kept very positive as we were not battling each other.”

Erick Vargas just got approved recently to play for the Marauders and he added an ace, two kills and an assist in the first volleyball game that he ever played. “This was the first game that Erick has played in,” added Voyt. “He really shined and he fit right in with the girls. I like what I saw from him and look forward to what he can potentially bring in the future.”

Both teams host league games on Tuesday as Dunkirk battles Forestville while Fredonia takes on Brocton.

“This match was extremely intense, especially towards the end,” said Krakowiak. “That happens often when you play your rival, but that is what makes the game fun for everybody by having that type of competition where everybody gets involved.”

North Collins 3, Silver Creek 0

OBSERVER Staff Reports

NORTH COLLINS — The North Collins Eagles defeated the Silver Creek Black Knights in three sets in volleyball on Thursday night, winning by a scores of 25-15, 25-22, 25-21.

MaKenna Williams had a monster night passing for the Lady Eagles, collecting 25 assists for the team. Baylee Romano racked up ten kills and DeAnne Wilson pitched in nine kills and nine aces for North Collins to help get the win.

Top performers for Silver Creek were Julia Hill, who had eight assists and six digs, and Kiera Brennan who tallied three kills and eight digs.

North Collins (2-0) will return to action this weekend when they head to the Falconer volleyball tournament. Silver Creek (1-1) will play again on Tuesday when they host Maple Grove at 6:30 p.m.

Gowanda 3,

Brocton/Westfield 0

BROCTON — The Gowanda Panthers defeated the Brocton/Westfield volleyball in three sets on Thursday, with scores of 25-16, 25-17, 25-9.

Standouts for Gowanda were Miya Scanlon with eight aces and five kills, Summer Allen with seven aces and 12 assists and Grace Pawlak with four aces and four digs.

Brocton/Westfield’s Sophia DeMarco collected six kills and two blocks for the Lady Bulldogs.

Brocton/Westfield (0-4, 0-2) will return to action on Tuesday when they face Fredonia at 6:30 p.m. Gowanda also plays again on Tuesday when they host North Collins at 6 p.m.