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Borkowski Leads Blue Devils

Sometimes a win can be a thing a of beauty. All facets of your game are on point and everything flows perfectly.

Other times, well, you just have to grind it out and hope for the best. This was one of those nights.

Abby Borkowski had 14 kills, seven digs and three aces as Kenmore West took down North Tonawanda in three straight games in their Niagara Frontier League girls volleyball game that was played at Kenmore West High School on Friday evening.

Winning by final scores of 25-13, 25-18 and 25-15, the Blue Devils (9-2 overall) improved to 7-2 in league and remained in the hunt for the NFL championship, which they are defending.

Though the game was far from being a highlight reel for either team, Borkowski said this was the kind of night that is important to building a winning mentality.

“It’s because if this (happens) in sectionals or something, we know how to persevere and fight through anything,” said Borkowski.

“It’s that we were down in one game and that we know we can come back. They’re a good defensive team, too.”

While it might not have been the Lady Blue Devils most consistent effort of the season, Borkowski herself was on her game.

Not only was Borkowski in on all three match points with kills in the first two games and a service ace to close out game three, she went through the entire night without a single attacking error.

Hard enough to do in the best of circumstances, to get through a match without an attacking error is even more impressive when you factor in that it was a game full of ups and downs for both teams where anyone could have easily lost focus.

“She has really improved on her hitting from last year to this year,” said Ken-West coach Kelly Strong.

“She makes every set look great. She goes up, she picks her spots and she’s super smart about mixing up her attack as well. When she gets a hold of one, her speed and her power are just unstoppable.”

A junior captain who has been a starter on varsity since eighth grade, this has been a season of change for Borkowski who has moved from her natural position of setter to outside hitter. Gradually seeing more and more time at the outside last year, Borkowski said she feels much more secure in that role now that it’s become her full time job. “In the off season I worked a lot on my vertical (jump) so it’s nice starting to see it pay off,” Borkowski said.

“Playing it last year I was really shaky. I never played the 5-spot, but now I’m getting more and more comfortable every day.”

For the Lady Jacks, now at 3-5 in the NFL, this night was about trying to once again find their game as a group now that they are fully healthy.

Though they showed some battle in spurts, NT coach Jess Anderson said it just wasn’t enough to get the job done tonight. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. They’ve got to put a full match together,” Anderson said.

“That starts with a full game. Put a full game together. We’re not doing that consistently enough. We do have some flashes of plays for a stretch where we do great. Then we take a step backwards.”

Julie Milbrand had 10 kills and 11 digs for North Tonawanda while Jasmine Moran added another 10 digs.

Erin Veronica had 13 digs and two aces while Samantha Veronica had 21 assists, seven digs and three aces.

One of the NFL’s most intense rivalries over the past 12 years, this was the only meeting between the two teams this season due to the league going to an unbalanced schedule since CSAT arrived in the league this year, giving NFL girls volleyball nine teams.

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