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What happened when the two-time defending state champs move down from Class B to C? Eden reloads, plays its best at the end of the year and win a state-record ninth title

Eden roster

1 Kailee Ballou, fr. OH
2 Rebecca Shoemaker, sr. L
3 Jackie Bonczar, jr. DS
4 Kendall Pierce, sr. OH
5 Megan Ballou, 8th OH
6 Lydia Baake, jr. S/DS
7 Sam Burgio, 7th MB/OH
8 Lainy Pierce, so. OH
9 Taylor Mitchell, so. OH
10 Molly Brier, 7th S/DS
12 Tori Eschner, sr. S
13 Meghan McCarthy, jr. MB
19 Heather Holscher, so. MB

Coach: Stephen Pierce
Assistants: Johanna Funke,
Robert Pierce
Athletic director:
Melissa Fallacaro
Principal: Marc Graff
Superintendent: Ron Buggs


How they got there

1. SectionVIchampionship:After its usual tough schedule in the regular season, which included three losses to eventual Catholic state champion St. Mary's, and having moved down in classification from Class B to C, the Raiders rolled through the sectionals. Eden did not drop a set, winning their 13th straight Section VI crown with a sweep (all games were 25-14) of Falconer, which was last year's state champion in Class C.

2. Statequarterfinal:The Raiders earned their 13th straight appearance in the final four in dominating fashion. Eden swept Section III (Syracuse area) champion Skaneateles, 25-9, 25-13, 25-1, capping it off with an overwhelming performance in a third game that lasted just 11 minutes.

3. State semifinal pool play:Kendall Pierce (37 kills, 31 digs), Lainy Pierce (28 kills, 11 aces) and Becca Shoemaker (23 digs, six aces) led the way as the Raiders swept all six of its sets against Long Island's Mattituck (Suffolk County's Section XI), Dutchess County's Rhinebeck (Section IX) and Voorheesville of Section II (Albany area). Eden advanced to the state championship match for the sixth straight year and the 12th time in the last 13 years.

4. State championship: Eden faced Rhinebeck, which earned the finals berth in a one-game playoff, and after a close first game (25-20), the Raiders racked up two 25-12 victories to earn the program's third straight title and – adding to a state record it already owns – its ninth overall. Penn State-bound Kendall Pierce (18 kills, 14 digs) earned MVP honors, younger sister Lainy delivered her second straight outstanding performance at states (19 kills, four aces) and Eschner (34 assists, three aces) was named to the all-tournament team.

Road to the championship /Match-by-match 40-5-3

Sept. 7 at JFK, W, 3-0 *

St. Mary's Tournament

Sept. 10 vs. Immaculata, W, 2-0
Sept. 10 vs. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, W, 2-0
Sept. 10 vs. Grand Island, W, 2-0
Sept. 10 vs. Williamsville North, W, 2-0
Sept. 10 vs. St. Mary's, W, 2-0 (final)
Sept. 16 at Cleveland Hill, W, 3-0 *
Sept. 19 vs. Tonawanda, W, 3-0 *
Sept. 20 vs. St. Mary's, L, 3-2
Sept. 23 vs. Lackawanna, W, 3-0 *
Sept. 26 at Alden, W, 3-0 *
Sept. 27 at Holland, W, 3-0 *
Sept. 29 vs. JFK, W, 3-0 *


Eden Invitational

Oct. 1 vs. Falconer, W, 2-0
Oct. 1 vs. Lancaster, W, 2-0
Oct. 1 vs. Williamsville North, T, 1-1
Oct. 1 vs. V-Mercy, L, 2-0 (quarterfinal)
Oct. 3 vs. Alden, W, 3-0 *


Garden State Challenge at Ramapo (N.J.) College

Oct. 8 vs. North Hunterdon (N.J.), T, 1-1
Oct. 8 vs. Sacred Heart (L.I.), W, 2-0
Oct. 8 vs. Science Park (N.J.), W, 2-0
Oct. 8 vs. Ridgewood (N.J.), W, 2-0
Oct. 9 vs. XI-Ward Melville, W, 2-0
Oct. 9 vs. Immaculate Heart (N.J.), T, 1-1
Oct. 9 vs. North Hunterdon (N.J.), W, 2-0
Oct. 9 vs. IX-Pine Bush (NY), W, 2-0
Oct. 9 vs. St. Mary's, L, 2-1 (semifinal)
Oct. 11 at Tonawanda, W, 3-0 *
Oct. 13 at Lackawanna, W, 3-0 *
Oct. 17 vs. Holland, W, 3-0 *
Oct. 21 vs. Cleveland Hill, W, 3-0 *


Pittsford Dig Pink Tournamentat V-Pittsford-Sutherland

Oct. 22 vs. Frontier, W, 2-0
Oct. 22 vs. V-Webster-Schroeder, L, 2-0
Oct. 22 vs. V-Attica, W, 2-0
Oct. 22 vs. V-Lyons, W, 1-0
Oct. 22 vs. V-Wayne, W, 1-0
Oct. 22 vs. Lockport, W, 1-0 (silver final)
Oct. 25 at St. Mary's, L, 3-0
Oct. 26 vs. Orchard Park, W, 3-1


Section VI Tournament

Oct. 27 vs. Cassadaga Valley, W, 3-0
Nov. 1 vs. Allegany-Limestone, W, 3-0
Nov. 3 vs. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, W, 3-0


Section VI championship at Sweet Home
Nov. 9 vs. Falconer, W, 3-0


State quarterfinal at Sweet Home

Nov. 12 vs. III-Skaneateles, W, 3-0


State semifinal pool play at Glens Falls Civic Center

Nov. 19 vs. II-Voorheesville, W, 2-0
Nov. 19 vs. IX-Rhinebeck, W, 2-0
Nov. 19 vs. XI-Mattituck, W, 2-0


Class C state championship at Glens Falls Civic Center

Nov. 20 vs. IX-Rhinebeck, W, 3-0

* ECIC IV match

do not count towards record


State championship posters: The News is paying tribute to Western New York's state champions from the fall. Orchard Park football (Dec. 3) was followed by Eden girls volleyball (today). Look for St. Mary's girls volleyball, Clarence girls swimming and East Aurora, Barker and Maple Grove cross country, coming in the next few weeks.