When Lainy Pierce looks back on her high school career years from now, she won’t have to think long to recall her biggest accomplishment.
The Eden senior, along with teammate Heather Holscher, accomplished something only done twice before by other players in state tournament history – winning five state championships.
The state event started in 1990. The record for consecutive championships is held by Sweet Home, which won six under Hall of Fame coach Sally Kus from 1990-1995. Tori Seibert and Colleen Lee also played on five state champion teams, according to Kus.
“I’m so thankful we won this year, it was a perfect high school career,” Pierce said. “Playing for Eden High School and for Niagara Frontier Volleyball taught me all my core skills. That’s what I grew up on and I’m truly thankful for both of them. I would not be where I am without them and for having” Stephen Pierce, Lainy’s uncle, “as my coach.”
Pierce was named the state tournament Class C MVP. The honors didn’t stop there as she was also one of nine players named to the All-Western New York Volleyball Team, chosen by WNY coaches.
Randolph (22-2) reached the Class D title game, losing in three games to Haldane.
Junior Mckenna Maycock, a basketball commit to St. Bonaventure, had a dominant season, making the state all-tournament team and being named first team all-New York State. It was the third time she’s led the Cardinals to the state final match.
Reaching the next level
The sport of girls volleyball added another impressive chapter to the number of athletes who earn college scholarships. Six of the nine players on this year’s team have secured rides. And they don’t get much bigger than Penn State and Duke.
Eden’s Pierce has signed with Penn State, where she will study biology in hopes of someday becoming a physician’s assistant.
Earlier this month, the Nittany Lions captured their sixth NCAA national championship in program history. Pierce’s older sister, Kendall, was a member of that team.
Junior Leah Meyer of St. Mary’s has committed to Duke, where she will study physical therapy.
Sara Crandall of Cattaraugus/Little Valley has signed with NCAA Division II Gannon University. She averaged 18 kills per match and led her team in aces.
Courtney Scanlon of Ellicottville has signed with Division I Stony Brook.
Sydney Rojek of Frontier has signed with Division I Marist. She’s been a four-year starter and a four-year all-star. Her grandfather, major league shortstop Stan Rojek, was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. “She’s a special kid,” said coach Debby Schrufer. “She just had a ton of respect for all the athletes she competes with and against.”
Jenna Reeser of Sweet Home has signed with Division II Daemen College.
Junior McKyla Brooks of Frontier is also a Section VI champion in track. She has visited Clemson and UB. She’s been a quick study since starting to play volleyball as a freshman. With seven seniors graduating, she will be among the leaders next year.
Around the courts
Frontier and St. Mary’s had two All-WNY picks each. St. Mary’s picks, juniors Leah Meyer and Ashley Drzymala, have led the Lancers to three straight Catholic state final appearances. Drzymala said one of her biggest influences is her sister, Amber, who plays at Daemen College.
Frontier won the large school and St. Mary’s the small school poll championships in a vote of WNY Coaches. The Falcons have made the Class AA final four years in a row. Among St. Mary’s many highlights was a sweep of eventual state champion Eden in all three of their meetings.
• Sue Pernick retired as Lancaster’s coach, ending a 24-year career in which she won two state titles during a run of seven straight trips to the state finals from 2001-2007.
Clearly wanting to win one last postseason title for their coach, the Redskins upset defending sectional champion Orchard Park in the semifinals and then took eventual champion Frontier to four games in the final.
• Winning sectional titles were: Frontier (Class AA), Sweet Home (Class A), Starpoint (Class B), Eden (Class C) and Randolph (Class D).