Just before the game-clinching point, teammates Sophia Renaud and Destiny Custer looked at each other and said “we got this.”
They were right.
Class B-2 Olean scored a stunning three-set sweep over B-1 champion Cheektowaga in the Section VI Class B overall title match that was played at North Tonawanda High School Friday night.
“We always just look at each other for the last point and say we got this. We gotta finish,” said Custer, who had 10 digs and 10 aces.
Winning by scores of 25-8, 25-7 and 25-18, Olean now advances to Tuesday’s sub-regionals at Daemen College where they will play the Section III Class B champ (6 p.m.) for the right to advance to regionals.
The win was especially satisfying for the Huskies, who saw last season end in the Class B crossover game.
“It means a lot to us because we didn’t make it this far last year and we had a big opponent,” said junior Grace Parr, who had 10 kills. “To do it in three, it’s just really shocking.”
The most impressive part of the win for Olean is that it was a complete effort.
From serving and well-timed passes to booming hits and solid defense. To strong play on the front row to the way they attacked the Warriors’ back row.
There was a flow in every aspect of the Huskies’ game that allowed them to take charge and never look back.
At the root of it all was great communication on the floor.
“Everybody did what they needed to do. We had our traditional practice (Thursday). The kids stayed almost an hour after practice because there were specific things they wanted to do,” Olean coach Carrie Peters said. “We watched film making sure we knew what our opponent was going to do. Where their strengths and weaknesses were. And they practiced so much (Thursday) and they were confident they could cash in on those things. This is where we lost last year. This was the goal from day one of the season. This is where they wanted to be. There’s been a lot of struggles. Tonight, they were solid. They did what they were supposed to do. They listened to what they were supposed to do. They listened to each other which was probably the most important thing.”
Focusing on taking the Warriors’ middles out of the equation the Huskies were able to disrupt Cheektowaga’s passing game and neutralize their offensive attack.
“Every ball that could have been up Sophia (Renaud) got to. If it bounced off a block she was there,” Custer said. “Or Adele (Dwaileebe) was there. We were always just backing each other up and we were ready for anything.”
Cheektowaga coach Denee Hickson said that she hopes that after her girls decompress from the emotions of this loss they will be able to look back with pride at what they accomplished.
“There’s so much to be proud of with these girls,” Hickson said. “What has been done this year, a record of 19-2, hasn’t been done in 40 years at our school. Since 1979. So we have a lot to be proud of.”