JOHNSTOWN – The Johnstown volleyball team began its pursuit of a third straight Section II Class B title with a convincing 3-0 sweep of Ichabod Crane in a Class B quarterfinal contest Friday at Johnstown High School.
The top-seeded Lady Bills won by scores of 25-11, 25-18 and 25-10.
“We did what we had to do today,” Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said.
Annie Stock had 13 digs and nine kills for the Lady Bills, while Alyssa Nellis posted seven digs, six blocks and three kills.
Morgan Catania added 14 service points, 13 assists and three digs for Johnstown.
April Craig led eighth-seeded Ichabod Crane with six digs, Brooke Morgan posted 11 assists and Jordon Dormady had four kills.
“It’s refreshing to see a team that we haven’t seen before,” McGuire said. “We’ve seen some teams three and four times this year.”
After trading points in the early stages of the first set, Johnstown opened up its first led on three straight service points from Stock to make it 6-3.
The Lady Bills also got three-point service runs from Brianne O’Rourke and Jerica Holland in the first half as they surged to a 14-5 lead.
Nellis added a four-point run to give the Johnstown a 20-7 lead before the Lady Bills closed the first set with a 25-11 win.
“Our servers did well today,” McGuire said. “We’ve been working on executing and being consistent. We were definitely able to do that today.”
A nine-point service run by Catania gave Johnstown a comfortable 10-1 lead in the opening stages of the second set.
The Riders got no closer than five points the rest of the way as the Lady Bills won the second set, 25-18.
Ichabod Crane grabbed a early 4-1 lead in the third set, only to have it erased by a three-point service run from Catania.
O’Rourke delivered a six-point surge to break open an 8-8 tie and give the Lady Bills a 14-8 advantage.
O’Rourke’s run was part of a dominating finish for Johnstown which won 17 of the final 19 points to seal the victory, 25-10.
The Lady Bills, who ended the regular season with a five-set loss to Gloversville, are seeking their third straight trip to the state tournament.
“It’s a long volleyball season and sectionals are a whole new season,” McGuire said. “What happened in the regular season doesn’t matter now because we’ve hit the reset button and we’re starting over. The girls are ready and excited for the postseason.
Johnstown (14-1 overall) will face fourth-seeded Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons on Wednesday in the Class B semifinals Wednesday at Ballston Spa High School.
Bishop Gibbons swept fifth-seeded Schuylerville by scores of 25-20, 25-14 and 25-23 in the quarterfinals Friday.