MAYFIELD - The Galway and Mayfield volleyball teams met in the championship match of Saturday's Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament with the Golden Eagles coming away with the title on game scores of 25-23 and 25-19.
On Monday, the two teams squared off again for a WAC North contest at Mayfield High School.
There was no sweep this time as the Lady Panthers took the opening game, but Galway showed why they have won 31 consecutive WAC regular-season matches as the Golden Eagles fought back to win the showdown, 3-2, on game scores of 20-25, 25-22, 25-27, 25-22 and 25-19.
Mayfield’s Nicole Little (1) drives the ball over the net against Galway’s Adrianna Watrobski (8) as Chelsea Cucci (11) and Emily Zawisa (12) back up the play during Monday’s match at Mayfield High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"Mayfield played very well tonight," Galway coach Jennifer Flinton said. "They made a lot better passes at times than we did and they were hitting a lot more aggressively than we were. It was a good match between two evenly matched teams and every game could have gone one way or the other."
Neither team was able to put together a service run early in the opening game until Karissa Morey strung five-straight points together to give the Lady Panthers some breathing room, 17-11. The Lady Eagles fought back to close the gap to 22-19 before Mayfield closed out the game for a 25-20 win.
Galway went to work to get the game back. Powered by strong net play from Emily Zawisa and Hayley Martin and an extended service run from Adrianna Watrobski, the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 13-6 advantage, which they extended to 19-7 before Mayfield Coach Eileen Rovito called for her second time out of the game.
The Lady Panthers responded by mixing their game between hard shots and soft touches that began finding open spots in the Galway defense.
"These girls have good energy and took it upon themselves," Coach Rovito said. "They came in, took a deep breath, looked at each other and said, 'let's do this.' They are a team of players who work together."
Mayfield cut Galway's lead to four, 22-18, with a kill from Nicole Little when Coach Flinton called for a time out to regroup her squad.
The Golden Eagles responded and held off Mayfield to take game two, 25-22.
Although dropping the second game, the confidence the Lady Panthers built by coming back from a 12-point deficit carried over into the third game.
Watrobski served the Golden Eagles out to a quick 3-0 advantage before service runs from Bailey Ward and Little gave Mayfield a 10-6 advantage.
This time Galway came back, tying the match at 14. The teams swapped leads, with neither able to open more than a three-point advantage.
The teams were deadlocked at 24 apiece when both sides faulted on their services, but Mayfield had a 26-25 edge when Kiera Davis delivered a game-winning ace to lock up the 27-25 win for Mayfield.
Galway again got off to a quick start in game four with another service run by Watrobski, but Mayfield countered with a long run from Ward and strong net play from Miranda Eagan and Little to take an 8-4 lead.
That would be the largest point spread for the remainder of the match as both teams attacked and countered each other's moves with extended volleys, diving digs and consistent passing.
The score was tied five times in the late stages of the game before Galway pulled out a 25-22 victory to set up a fifth and deciding game.
"We brought them in and said we need to smile, we need to have fun and we need to stay focused," Coach Flinton said. "I think they were putting a lot of pressure on themselves to win this game. Sometimes you have to sit back and say lets have fun and you play better when you are having fun. Once they got smiling and got that confidence back they were OK."
The close play continued early in game five with the Golden Eagles clinging to a 13-12 lead when the teams switched sides.
Martin opened the second half of the game with a four-point service run to give Galway a 17-14 edge.
The Lady Panthers were unable to close the gap as the service game faltered late in the match and the Golden Eagles stayed in control to take the final game 25-19 and win the match 3-2.
"It was like dominoes. Once one started then the others started missing," Rovito said of the Lady Panthers usually strong service game. "That hurt us. I think we missed like 15 serves today."
Morey finished the match with 19 services points, four aces, 12 kills, six digs and 16 assists for Mayfield, while Little had 14 service points, 11 kills and a block. Eagan contributed 15 kills, 17 assists and two blocks to the Lady Panthers attack, while Kaylee Bumpus had eight kills and nine points and Mackenzie Biggers had 10 points and nine digs.
"The girls are playing well and are twice the team they were the first week of practice," Coach Rovito said. "I am really excited about where they are headed."
Watrobski paced the Golden Eagles with 16 service points, two aces, 10 assists and a kill, while Rachel Jones finished with five kills, four blocks, 16 service points and two aces and Martin added 14 kills, nine service points and an ace.
"The fact that we battled back quite a bit, is a positive," Coach Flinton said. "We were down emotionally and we were down on the scoreboard. To stay on top of it, keep fighting for the win, and not give up, which we could have done easily, but we fought for it. That is very positive and encouraging to know they can keep going."
Mayfield (5-2 overall, 3-2 WAC) and Galway (7-0 overall, 5-0 WAC) are scheduled to play again on Oct. 22 at Galway.
Schoharie 3, Middleburgh 0
SCHOHARIE - Allie Blyth had five kills and three blocks to lead Schoharie to a sweep of Middleburgh.
The Indians won by scores of 25-22, 25-21 and 25-14.
Jessica Cornwall recorded 11 service points for Schoharie (4-1 WAC), while Jane Grounds added three aces.
Shania Marotta registered four kills and three aces for Middleburgh, while Lena Pigott posted seven kills. Shela Hinkley added four kills and three blocks for the Kinghts.
Duanesburg 3, Berne-Knox-Westerlo 2
DUANESBURG -Rechel Gamache finihsed with 14 service points and nine kills to lead Duanesburg to a win over Berne-Knox-Westerlo.
The Eagles won by scores of 14-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-18 and 25-23.
Danielle Hubbard and Erin McIntyre each finished with 16 kills for Berne-Knox-Westerlo.