Volleyball: Twice the MayoFor the second year in a row, the Rochester Mayo volleyball team followed a regular season loss to Farmington with a victory over the Tigers in the Section 1AAA tournament.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
For the second year in a row, the Rochester Mayo volleyball team followed a regular season loss to Farmington with a victory over the Tigers in the Section 1AAA tournament.
Last season, Farmington swept Mayo before falling in a five-game thriller in the section semifinals. This season's section rematch proved less dramatic as the Spartans bounced back from a four-game loss to the Tigers late in the regular season with a 25-22, 25-16, 30-28 sweep Wednesday night at Rochester Civic Center.
The Tigers jumped out to a 16-8 lead to start Game 1. Sophomore middle hitter Katie Habeck scored four of the match's first five points via spike, and Danielle Dombeck followed with a streak of eight straight service points to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the night.
"We had control of game one and we let them back into it," Farmington head coach Mike Woody said.
The Spartans got back into it with an 11-0 run that featured three aces and several other strong serves that kept the Tigers from getting back into their offense.
"They served us right out of our serve receive offense, which is where we usually control the game," Woody said. "We didn't get a chance to run our middle, our passing was not on the net and we tried to force some things. That made us slower and their defense was able to set up against us."
The Tigers creeped back within two points late in Game 1, but they were never able to regain the momentum that shifted to Mayo's side after the 11-0 streak. The Spartans moved ahead 3-2 at the start of Game 2 and held onto the lead the rest of the way to take a commanding 2-0 advantage in the best-of-five series.
"We reacted to (Game 1) in Game 2 and then didn't start playing until Game 3," Woody said. "Once we got down we started to be a little careful. We lost the big lead, then we lost the reckless abandon we played with all year and that allowed them to make digs and made us make errors."
The Tigers returned to regular-season form in a Game 3 that was back and forth the whole way. The score was tied at 9-9, 11-11, 12-12, 13-13, 19-19, 23-23, 24-24, 25-25, 26-26, 27-27 and 28-28 before the Spartans scored the winning point on a ball that hit the hand of a Farmington player, rolled across the top of the net and hit the out-of-bounds stick.
"That's the way all three, four or five games should have been," Woody said. "The girls believed in themselves and decided to give it a shot, but it was too little, too late. The fight they had with their backs up against the wall is what I'm most proud of this team for."
The loss ended the volleyball careers of seven seniors on Farmington's varsity roster: Breanna Guzek, Katie Wolfe, Kaitlin Mincke, Amanda Rudolph, Kirstee Rotty, Maria Gochenour and Amie Canaar. The group helped the Tigers post an overall record of 42-12 over the last two years, but both seasons ended with tough section losses to the Spartans in Rochester. Regulars Alexia Rains, Danielle Dombeck, Lauren McHenry and Katie Habeck will all return next fall.
"We'll keep building with the girls we have coming back. A number of the girls have been through this situation twice, so hopefully with their leadership and knowledge, along with the new girls joining the crew next year, we will be able to compete next year," Woody said. "Hopefully the girls that have been through this and have learned from it will help the new girls so they don't have to go through the pain to learn from it."
Kills: Habeck 15, Dombeck 9, McHenry 6, Mincke 4
Blocks: Habeck 7, Mincke 4
Digs: Rotty 27, Rudolph 12, Dombeck 12, Guzek 8
Assists: Guzek 31
Serve receives: Rotty 26, Dombeck 23, Rains 8