One team punched its 14th straight trip to states, the other, its eighth.
Eden girls volleyball was crowned Sectional VI champion for the 14th straight time Monday at Sweet Home High School, capturing the Class C title in straight sets over Southwestern. Eighth-seeded Starpoint earned its first Class B girls volleyball title, topping Albion, 25-15, 25-23 and 25-17.
“Each year it means more,” said Eden senior Lainy Pierce, who has now been part of five straight sectional titles with the Lady Raiders.
Pierce’s experience helped Eden pull through during the first game as Southwestern pushed the Lady Raiders to a tie game at 13-13. The senior then went on a seven-point service run that featured a pair of thundering kills by fellow five-year letter-winner Heather Holscher to put the Lady Raiders up, 20-14, where they were able to hold on, 25-22.
“We figured they would come in with nothing to lose and they did, especially in the first game.” said Eden coach Stephen Pierce, who said his team may have had some “nerves of expectations” as well.
Lainy Pierce finished five aces and 38 assists, while Holscher provided 15 kills.
After Eden won the second game, 25-9, Southwestern took a 11-5 lead in the third, spearheaded by play at the net by Sally Anne Rudny, who finished with 11 kills and four blocks.
But Eden chipped away, feeding the ball to Holscher on the wing for kills.
Eden finished the third set — and the match — on a 20-5 run.
“You never know what’s going to get thrown at you, but you kind of have to be ready for it,” Lainy Pierce said.
Now Eden will be vying for its fifth straight state title, starting Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Sweet Home against Section III winner Cazenovia.
“It’s excitement and it’s pressure,” Lainy Pierce said of the possibilities of winning a fifth state title.
“It’d be unreal and it’s even unreal in my mind. We want it so bad, and not just me, everyone wants it so bad.”
Starpoint opened on a 14-5 run and cruised to its first set win, but ran into trouble in the second. After the Spartans opened a 19-12 lead on Allison Block’s service, Albion stormed back, thanks to seven-point service rally by Chanyce Powell to tie the game at 21.
However, after working hard to come back, Albion had a trio of unforced errors, including a double-hit on game point.
“Our passing really broke down in that second game which is why they rallied back,” said Starpoint coach Kristie Slack, who won her first Sectional title.
The eighth-seeded Spartans saved their best for the third set, going on a 10-point rally, in part because of a great service by Jenna Faulkner and crisp passing for easy kills, to finish off Albion.
Katie Jastrzab had seven kills and eight blocks, Julia Schreier has eight kills and Hattie Lasal had 26 digs, including a spectacular diving dig in the third game rally to keep the momentum going and move the Spartans on to the state tournament.
Starpoint plays the Section III winner Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Sweet Home.
Randolph claimed the Section VI title beating Portville in four games. The Panthers had no answer for Randolph’s Mckenna Maycock who had 39 kills.
Randolph takes a 21-2 record into Saturday’s Far West Regionals at Sweet Home.