Exactly 366 days ago, the top-seeded Lyons girls volleyball team lost its bid to win the Section 5 Class DDD title as they fell to No. 2 2 Warsaw in four games.
That was then and this is now.
Friday night at Bloomfield High School the Lions came out with a roar and before they were finished came away with their 19th three game sweep of the season as they dismantled No. 2 Geneseo (15-4) by the scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-16.
“We talked about playing with energy and enthusiasm, enjoying the moment,” said Lyons coach Matt Barr. “We just tried to play our game with a lot of energy, from point one no matter what happened. We talked about working together and communicating. We knew this gym was a tight gym and that Geneseo traveled well, with a crowd. So we knew we would have our hands full. We just try to play one point at a time.”
After opening up an early 5-1 lead in the first game, Geneseo staged a mild comeback as they came within a point trailing 9-8. But when the Blue Devils’ serve sailed into the middle of the net it sparked a fire for the Lions as they went on a 9-3 scoring run that forced Geneseo coach Chris Butera to call her first timeout as Lyons led 18-11. But Butera didn’t have the solution for her troops. The timeout only served to fire up the raging Lions even more. Displaying stellar defense, handling anything that came at them it set the stage as Taylor DiSanto set the ball up time after time allowing Ryenn Smith and Gator Shields to drop in brilliant soft touches and thundering kills. Lyons won the first set 25-13.
In the second game it looked as if Lyons was going to let down a bit as they have a other times this season in the second game. With the score tied at 2-2 the Blue Devils took their first lead of the evening, but the Lions clawed right back and tied things at 4-4 and 5-5 before going up 14-10. It wasn’t long before momentum started to change in favor of the Blue Devils as they cut the lead to just two points, 14-12. But just as fast as things had turned in Geneseo’s direction it went the other way when the Blue Devils lost the serve and a point when they were called for being out of rotation. Lyons then went on to out score the Blue Devils 11-7 and took the second game 25-19.
“The first game one of our thought was that we could tip pretty good against this team,” said Barr. “We saw a few things and we scouted them and thought there would be some open spots. We did that pretty well the first game. The second game, like any well coached team they made some adjustments and we had to figure out what we had to next. So what was working for us in the first game wasn’t exactly working out as well in the second. So by the half way point we adjusted to what they had done and we got on a little roll.”
Page 2 of 2 - Midway through the third game Geneseo took their second and final lead of the contest when senior captain Aubrie Johnsen served up an ace which caught the back line. Lyons scored the next point as Shields crushed the ball that hit nothing but hardwood, bringing Lyons fans to their feet and knotting the game at 13-13. Shields then served up nine unanswered points, giving the Lions a 22-13 lead. Lyons went on to a 25-16 win.
“We all got together and told each other how much we wanted it tonight and how much we had to fight,” said Shields. “Nobody wanted it more than us, we wanted it and we had to work for it.”
“I was a little bit nervous, but I knew that we were either going to show up or we weren’t,” said Lyons outside hitter and the squad’s only senior, Ryenn Smith. “We thought that they were a mental team and if they made mistakes it was going to get in their heads and we were already in there from the first game . So when they lost the point for out of rotation it helped us. We talked about that they weren’t that quick on defense, so we knew if we tipped the ball they might not get to the ball.”
Tournament MVP Ryenn Smith collected 14 kills and 10 digs, along with All-Tourney team members Gator Shields and Taylor DiSanto who collected 13 kills and 28 assists respectively. Also named to the All-Tournament Team were Aubrie Johnsen and Rachael Nicholls of Geneseo along with Warsaw’s Haley Dumbleton and Pembroke’s Lindsey Wurthman.
Lyons will play the winner of Prattsburgh/Honeoye on Thursday Nov. 8 for the overall Section 5 Class D championship. The time and place are yet to be determined.