Weekly Feature

2017-10-04 / Sports

Cummings named MVP at girls volleyball tourney

¦ Squad also douses Lady Flames in battle of top two large schools
by JASON NADOLINSKI
Reporter

Jaide Cummings was named Tournament MVP, and teammates Leah Victor and Lindsey Leipold were named to the All-Tournament Team as they all helped Clarence’s girls volleyball team — in their own way — to earn the championship in their own tournament Saturday.

Clarence won the Gold Bracket title by taking down Lockport in the final by 25-Jaide Cummings finishes off a long volley with a spike during the girls volleyball team’s appearance in its own tournament Saturday. Cummings was ultimately named Tournament MVP for her performance over the course of the tournament. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Jaide Cummings finishes off a long volley with a spike during the girls volleyball team’s appearance in its own tournament Saturday. Cummings was ultimately named Tournament MVP for her performance over the course of the tournament. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com 19, 25-15 scores. The Lady Red Devils defeated East Aurora in the semifinal round by 25-22, 25-17 scores to earn their spot in the final.

“Our tournament was an opportunity for all of the girls to get involved and was a great team win at this point in the season,” coach Michael Meyer said. “The team relied heavily on their side out offense that starts with the passing of Jaide, Lexi [Mac- Donald], Jenna [Hugenschmidt] and Miranda [Edmondson]. Miranda also provided steady serve receive, played tough defense and took good swings from the outside. Jaide and Leah continued to take fearless swings from the pins, and Lindsey ran a varied offense at a high level.”

Jessie Fitch also stepped up and played a huge role throughout the day, Meyer said, as she continued to improve at middle hitter to where she recorded kills in all three pool games, as well as in the semifinals and finals. Lizzie Danzer served up four straight aces when she took to the floor, while Abbey Cole also came in and served well on top of playing good defense by recording several digs as a defensive specialist. Melissa Ratzel was a go-to early and often, Meyer said.

Clarence prepped for the tournament by taking down Frontier the previous evening by 25-18, 25-12, 25-23 scores. Cummings and Victor continue to do good work from the pins, with Cummings leading the team with 11 kills and Victor contributing eight. Cummings also led the way with 14 serves, including four aces, followed by Haley Marlowe, who came off the bench to serve 12 times — with many of them putting the other team out of system.

The Lady Red Devils were primed to do well this past weekend after taking Wednesday’s battle of the top two large schools in Western New York — though Williamsville East made Clarence work hard to secure the 26-24, 12-25, 25-20, 21-25, 25-21 triumph. Kennedy Oleszak set the tone early with some huge swings in the first set, Meyer said, and she continued her high level of play all night to finish with 11 kills and 10 blocks. The Lady Red Devils’ other middle Clarence’s girls volleyball team capped off its strong week of action Saturday by knocking off Lockport, 25-19, 25-15, in the Gold Bracket final of the Lady Red Devils’ own annual tournament. Members of the team include, from left: bottom row - Lindsey Leipold, Haley Marlowe, Miranda Edmondson, Lizzie Danzer, Lexi MacDonald, Jessie Fitch; top row - Melissa Ratzel, Leah Victor, Kennedy Oleszak, Allie Klonowski, Jenna Hugenschmidt, Abbey Cole, Jaide Cummings and coach Michael Meyer. Clarence’s girls volleyball team capped off its strong week of action Saturday by knocking off Lockport, 25-19, 25-15, in the Gold Bracket final of the Lady Red Devils’ own annual tournament. Members of the team include, from left: bottom row - Lindsey Leipold, Haley Marlowe, Miranda Edmondson, Lizzie Danzer, Lexi MacDonald, Jessie Fitch; top row - Melissa Ratzel, Leah Victor, Kennedy Oleszak, Allie Klonowski, Jenna Hugenschmidt, Abbey Cole, Jaide Cummings and coach Michael Meyer. hitter, Ratzel, recorded seven kills and had six blocks.

Leipold was able to get all of her hitters set, though, as Victor had six kills, Hugenschmidt had five kills and Cummings had 12.

“The match was really as close as the scores indicate and definitely lived up to the hype of them coming in as the top-ranked large school and us coming in as the second-ranked team,” Meyer said. “The match was advertised all week on our announcements and we had fans show up in force. They were loud and supportive all night, and really helped to cheer the team on to victory.”

Clarence found itself down four or five points in the high teens and needing a spark in the third game, which Hugenschmidt provided with a serving explosion that included several aces and completely turned that game around, Meyer said. The Lady Red Devils worked hard to build a 17-13 lead in the fourth game before East came storming back to win, which led to the crowd coming to life in the fifth set to give the home team an edge.

Clarence jumped out to an early four or five point lead and fought hard to hold onto it, taking a 23-20 lead late in the decisive set. Following an East timeout, the Lady Red Devils were able to get a perfect pass to Leipold, who had been running Oleszak at middle all night. Meyer noted that he thought everyone in the gym believed Oleszak was going to be set but instead Leipold flicked a perfect back set to Victor, who hammered the ball home.

On the final point, another perfect pass from MacDonald to Leipold allowed Leipold to set Oleszak, who finished the match with another kill.

“Both teams deserve a lot of credit for their high level of play,” Meyer said. “I am most proud of how the girls stuck together and remained composed and resilient, especially when they faced some adversity. They also played relentless defense against the determined attackers from East, and also continued to serve receive very well, which allowed us to run a high-level side out offense. There definitely is a reason why East was ranked first and has gone to states the past two years.”

MacDonald finished the night with 20 digs, with many of them Meyers calling of the ‘I can’t believe she just did that’ variety.

Prior to the East match, Clarence was able to start off its week on the right foot by knocking off Jamestown on Sept. 25 by 25-11, 25-15, 25-9 scores. Leipold set the tone by running a varied offense, recording 30 assists while also serving tough to record nine aces. Ratzel and Cummings carried the load on offense, combining for 12 kills, while MacDonald had 20 digs. Fitch and Julianne Bolton both recorded kills as well.

Clarence (5-0 ECIC I) returned to action Tuesday at Lancaster, but information about that contest was not available at press time. The Lady Red Devils close out their week by hosting Williamsville North Thursday before taking a small break from competition prior to hosting West Seneca West on Tuesday.

“The team continues to improve every time out and is focused on our goal of playing our best volleyball at the end of the season,” Meyer said.

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