There is nothing quite like a non-league game to test a team. Once again, the Lady Billies passed the test.
Gabby Presutti had 16 digs as Williamsville South beat North Tonawanda in three straight games in their Section VI non-league volleyball game that was played at NT’s Alumni-Student Activity Center.
Winning by scores of 25-20, 25-12 and 25-15 the Lady Billies improved to 5-0 on the young season.
“I think our key is that we work together as a team and no one tries to outshine anyone else,” said Presutti.
“We all kind of help each other out.”
In strikingly similar situations, the game featured a match up between two very young teams that were both missing key players.
The Billies were without co-captain Grace Stahl (hand injury), while the Lady Jacks (2-3) were without two starters in outside hitter Chase Steingasser and co-captain Lindsay Piotrowski (right side).
It was evident early on that the missing pieces had an impact on both teams as the first set was an evenly played contest that saw a couple of lead changes.
But by the second game the Billies, with an all underclassmen starting lineup including two eighth graders, were able to take charge as they used a 12-1 run to close out game two.
“It helps that we have some great servers and we try to come out and work together as a team,” Presutti said.
Billies head coach Tom Sproull said that both teams “were scrappy” and that the game-changer was the fact that his girls won the battle of the rallies.
“We got more of those long rallies than they did,” said Sproull, “and obviously that resulted in a win.”
The third looked as if the momentum had slowly begun to swing back in NT’s favor as the two teams traded points and remained tied up until it was 8-8. But the Billies regained control with a couple of quick points to build a 13-8 lead.
For the Lady Jacks, , there were some positives to take out of the game as they move forward. Ultimately, they learned that it will take a stronger start and more consistent effort throughout if they hope to keep collecting wins.
“I definitely feel like everyone tried, and everyone learns,” said Yilka Sopi, who had two blocks.
“Every time we step on the court we learn something new. Without our starters it’s harder, but everyone stepped up. We all tried as hard as we could. We made mistakes, but they are correctable.”
The Lady Jacks were led by senior captain Julie Milbrand who had five kills and nine digs. Sara Dolan chipped in with three kills and six digs. Grace Proefrock had two aces. Eighth grader Amani DeBerry contributed two blocks for the Billies and Megan Muehlbauer added four kills. Maddie Popielski was key for the Billies with five aces.