Lady Blue Devils advance to Class C semifinals

PHOTOGRAPHER:
Dolgeville’s Jazzlyn Grassel (16) and Westmoreland’s Haylee Brown (10) battle at the net during Saturday’s Section III Class C quarterfinal match at Dolgeville Central School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)

DOLGEVILLE — Thanks to a first-round bye and some help from Mother Nature, the Dolgeville volleyball team was playing for the first time in a week Saturday when it hosted Westmoreland in a Section III Class C quarterfinal contest.

“We were very much looking forward to playing a sectional game at home,” Dolgeville coach Barb Allen said. “Two snow days in a row kind of threw off the schedule. I appreciate getting the bye to the quarterfinals, but it kind of got us out of our rhythm.”

The third-seeded Blue Devils shook off the rust and some early nerves to sweep the 11th-seeded Bulldogs, 3-0, winning by scores of 25-17, 25-19 and 25-12.

“We had lots of nerves today. My veteran players were the ones who were shook,” Allen said. “Once we settled in, we played well.”

Playing in their final regular-season home match, Dolgeville seniors Emma Bilinski, Jazzlyn Grassel and Breanna Potts all played key roles in the win.

Bilinski had 12 digs, nine kills and nine assists for the Blue Devils, Grassel finished with eight digs, seven kills and three blocks, and Potts posted 10 kills and nine digs.

Morgan Beaulieu notched 10 digs for Dolgeville, Rylee Lamphere posted 12 digs, 11 assists, five kills and two aces, and Ashlynne Seeley added nine digs and five aces.

Brynne Kleaka posted 18 digs, five points and three kills to lead Westmoreland, while M’Kayla Tierney had 15 digs, four kills and three aces. Isabella Ricci finished with 11 digs, three points and one block for the Bulldogs, Hannah Bowen had four service points, Samantha Dee recorded five digs, three assists and three service points, and Elizabeth Sill added three points and three kills.

After hosting its annual season-final tournament last Saturday, Dolgeville was originally scheduled to host Westmoreland on Thursday before winter weather pushed the match to Saturday. The Bulldogs reached the quarterfinals with a 3-2 first-round victory over sixth-seeded Little Falls on Tuesday.

“Westmoreland already had a sectional game under its belt, so they were able to work out some of their nerves,” Allen said.

The match got off to a slow start for both teams before Dolgeville got a four-point service run from Beaulieu to take a 6-2 lead.

Westmoreland answered with a kill by Sill and three straight service points froim Bowen to tie the match at 6-6.

Dolgeville regained the lead with four straight points, including three straight service points from Lamphere to take a 10-6 lead.

From there, the Blue Devils pulled away to win the first set by a 25-17 margin.

Dolgeville quickly took control of the second set, scoring the first four points.

The Blue Devils pushed their lead to 13-6 after four straight service points from Grassel.

Westmoreland got no closer than four points the rest of the way as Dolgeville took a 2-0 lead after winning the second set 25-19.

The third set saw the Bulldogs jump out to a quick 4-0 lead only to have Dolgeville answer by winning 11 of the next 12 points to take an 11-5 lead. Nine of the points came on the serve of Seeley, while Grassel had three kills in the flurry.

Westmoreland scored the net two points to make it 11-7 before the Blue Devils surged to a 17-7 advantage with five straight points from Bilinski. Dolgeville closed out the match from there, winning the final set 25-12, to claim a 3-0 sweep.

“This was a pretty good effort for us,” Allen said. “It was nice to get the win and move on.”

Dolgeville (15-3) advances to face second-seeded Onondaga in the semifinals Tuesday at 6 p.m.

Westmoreland finishes its season with a 9-11 overall record.

Onondaga (17-3 overall) notched a 3-1 win over seventh-seeded Port Byron (13-9 overall) in the quarterfinals Thursday, winning by scores of 25-14, 19-25, 25-14 and 25-16.

“Onondaga is a good team,” Allen said. “We’ll have to play well.”

In the other semifinal contest, No. 4 Tully (15-4) will travel to top-seeded Beaver River (15-1) on Tuesday. Tully won 3-0 over fifth-seeded Cooperstown in Saturday’s quarterfinals, while Beaver River notched a 3-0 win over ninth-seeded South Lewis in their quarterfinal contest Saturday.

By Paul Wager

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