Clarence Girls Volleyball Wins Fourth Straight Sectional Championship
The Class AA Section VI girls volleyball championship trophy will remain in Clarence.
For the second time this week, the Red Devils got a strong challenge from an ECIC I rival and for the second time they had an answer. Clarence again shook off a tough start and posted a 22-25, 25-19, 25-20, 25-22 win over Lancaster in the sectional championship match on Thursday evening at Daemen College.
“It’s just so great to just keep it going,” Clarence sophomore Leah Victor said. “We just kept our energy up as high as we could and just kept going.”
Clarence claimed its fourth consecutive Section VI title – adding to its four-peat as ECIC I champ. The Red Devils moved to 19-4 on the year with the win.
“It’s the girls’ tradition,” Clarence coach Michael Meyer said. “Part of our program we bring girls up and they get to be a part of it. So when they step on the court, they’ve done it before.”
Clarence will play in the Far West Regionals at 6 p.m. Thursday back at Daemen against the Section V winner.
“Hopefully we’ll have another great match,” Victor said. “I think we’ll keep playing hard. If we keep we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we’ll do great.”
In its sectional semifinal match, Clarence dropped the first two sets against Williamsville North before winning the final three in convincing fashion. The Red Devils had to rally again after losing the first set against Lancaster.
“Teams in Div 1 are all really, really good,” Meyer said. “Teams aren’t just going to fold in Division I, they’re going to fight and you have to play really, really good if you want to win. It took us playing our best to just scrape past that team.”
Lancaster came out firing in the first game and led 20-9 and then 23-14. Clarence made a fight of it, closing to within 23-21 before the Legends pilled away. But the rally set the tone for the rest of the final.
“Lancaster is tough,” Meyer said. “We knew they were going to be tough. We’ve been playing them for a long time. But late in that first game I told the girls, ‘Listen, we may not win this game but we can send a message.’ We started taking big swings and the momentum turned.”
The Red Devils started strong in the second set and pulled away for a comfortable win. That surge was led by senior Kennedy Oleszak, who finished the match with eight kills and took control in the second set.
“When that girl came to life in the second game, it turned it all around,” Meyer said. “You guys saw the game, when she hit those balls, the team rallied around her.”
Jaide Cummings had 12 kills and eight digs, while Lindsey Leipold had 27 assists and two blocks for Clarence.
Lancaster’s season ends at 20-10. The Legends say goodbye to a talented senior class, led by Colgate University-bound Julia Kurowski, who led the team with 13 kills against Clarence.
Eight seniors on our team, that’s pretty unheard of in the sport of volleyball,” Lancaster coach Becky Edwards said. “These were unlike any other seniors I’ve coached. They’ve been with me, a lot of them, since they were 10 years old. It’s hard for them right now, they’re pretty emotional, which is expected. But one of the most talented teams I’ve ever coached.”