The top seeds held serve to set up a rematch in the Section VI Class B girls volleyball title game.
Defending Class B champion Alden defeated Medina in four sets to win the B-2 final after East Aurora swept ECIC III rival Maryvale to win its second straight Class B-1 title on Wednesday night at Daemen College.
East Aurora (15-0), No. 5 small school in the Western New York coaches poll, will meet No. 8 Alden (12-2) in the Class B crossover championship at Daemen at 6 p.m. Monday. Alden won last year’s championship game matchup in five sets.
The Blue Devils believe they will be better prepared for their rematch with Alden.
“Offensively and defensively, we are better and the team chemistry is better,” said senior captain Julia Halsey. “We need to mentally prepare ourselves better and realize this is a big game that we need to study for.”
In a rematch of last year’s B-1 final, East Aurora earned its third win of the season over Maryvale (17-3), the No. 6 team in the coaches poll.
“It’s really a great feeling that we accomplished what we did,” said Halsey, who had seven kills. “It’s overwhelming.”
Maddie McLaughlin recorded her 13th kill for the winning point in the final set and added three blocks to lead the Blue Devils.
Sophomore setter Olivia Alessi had 26 assists and five kills for East Aurora. Olivia Covington had six kills and four service aces. Halsey added seven kills.
“Olivia Alessi really connected well with both of our outsides and our middles for really the entire match, which made it smooth for us,” East Aurora coach Rebecca Jacobs said.
East Aurora got better as the match wore on, winning the first set, 25-22, rallying late in the second set to win, 25-20, and taking the third set, 25-16.
The Blue Devils brought back every player but one from last year’s team and welcomed back McLaughlin, who missed the past two seasons due to illness.
“She’s one of the best outsides in Western New York,” Jacobs said. “It’s great to see her in her senior year come back and play like she did when she was a freshman. It’s really amazing as a coach to see her dedication and her focus and her willingness to come back and collaborate with the team that was already built and she fit in really well this year.”
Alden stayed at the top of its game after graduating six players from last year’s championship team.
“This year feels more special because we weren’t expecting to go this far,” said sophomore captain Emma Wlostowski, who scored the final point in the fourth set against Medina.
Alden won the first set, 25-13, but Medina battled back to win the second, 25-20. Alden controlled the third set to win, 25-15, but had to regroup from an early 12-7 deficit to win the deciding set, 25-20.
“Our entire team worked together as a group and everyone stepped out of their comfort zone and brought their game up another level,” senior captain Shelby Kersten said.
Kersten and Wlostowski stepped up to ensure graduation losses didn’t lead to a down year for Alden, coach Jeff Steinel said.
“Our two outside hitters really carried the team,” Steinel said. “The two of them, it’s lights out when they are on fire.”
Medina (14-5) was playing in its first sectional title game in 22 years.