GLOVERSVILLE - After dropping a five-game Foothills Council match to South Glens Falls last week, the Johnstown volleyball team has responded in a positive fashion.
Last Saturday the Lady Bills swept the competition to capture Queensbury's Power of Pink tournament.
Wednesday, Johnstown returned to its winning ways in the Foothills Council as it came from behind in each game to defeat Gloversville 3-0 on game scores of 26-24, 25-23 and 26-24.
Gloversville’s Katlyn Pierce (15) drives the ball as Johnstown’s Brianne O’Rourke (14) goes up for the block during Wednesday’s Foothills Council match at Gloversville High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"We knew tonight would not be easy," Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said. "South High lost to them in five games here and we knew they had their big middle [Katlyn Pierce] back. She was out last time we played. It was a tough match because these girls are friends and know each other's tendencies and moves they make."
Gloversville got off to a fast start, setting the Lady Bills back 9-5 on a service run by Christina Pavlovsky. However, after McGuire called for a time out, Johnstown rallied back to tie the game at 15 but could not pull away as the Huskies fought back. With the game score at 24-22, Jenna Putnam recorded a kill that Pierce followed up dropping a Johnstown set that was too close to the net to the floor to tie the game at 24.
Brianne O'Rourke put the Lady Bills back in front with her block on Pierce and Annie Stock hit a solid shot for the kill to take the opening game 26-24.
The Huskies again broke out on top early in game two before Johnstown rallied back to tie the game and take an 11-8 lead on a Zara Hyde's service run..
This time it was Gloversville that fought back to tie the game.
Down 21-15, Gloversville rallied behind a service run from Pierce to close the gap to 22-20 before the Lady Bills earned a side out.
Jerica Holland served Johnstown to a 23-21 advantage before Pavlovsky served the Huskies back to tie the game at 23.
Hyde came through with the big hit for Johnstown to retake the lead 24-23 before a double hit on Alyssa Nellis' serve closed out the Lady Bills' 25-23 game two victory.
Putnam served the Huskies out to an early 3-1 advantage in game three that Pierce built on the help set the Lady Bills back 9-4.
This time it was Madison Smrtic that keyed a Johnstown comeback as she served up six straight points including an ace to the far right corner to give the Lady Bills a 13-12 edge.
Kia Antipuesto tied the match for Gloversville with her ace before Johnstown was able to break out to a 19-15 advantage with the help of Meghan LeDoux service run.
The Lady Bills took the score to 23-19 when Gloversville coach Duane Hicks signaled for a time out.
The Huskies responded with a rally sparked by Chelsey Biasini's service run to put the score at 23-22 in favor of the Lady Bills.
Stock broke Biasini's service run with a solid hit to earn the side out and put the score at 24-22.
The Huskies did not concede the game at Megan McCall pushed the ball into an open spot to finish a six volley run, tying the game at 24.
The Huskies could not put the game away as Stock came through with a strong hit to put Johnstown back in front and finished off the game and match with a kill to the left corner for the 26-24 win.
"Johnstown is scrappy," Hicks said. "We had trouble finding holes. Our serve receive hurt us tonight. We would have a little lead and then we would get three or four against us on serve receive. That has been our Achilles' heel. If we don't do well there we don't get the pass or the kill."
Zara Hyde led Johnstown with 10 kills, 18 assists and seven digs, while Stock had 13 kills and 19 digs. Holland added seven digs and nine assists, while Liz Hayward had 15 digs, Hannah Breda six kills and Nellis contributed three blocks.
"That was not ideal," McGuire said of her team having to rally for each win. "It was a Gloversville-Johnstown game in their house on senior night. It is always tough. But it is getting near the end of October and all the games are tough from here on out."
Looking at the amount of digs the Lady Bills' recorded, Hicks said, "That means we were hitting the ball and we had a lot of digs tonight also. I don't think they are disappointed. The girls know they played well against a very good team. The games were pretty even; we lost by two points in every game."
Putnam led Gloversville with three kills, nine assists and two blocks, while Pierce had six kills and four blocks. Biasini added two kills and six digs, while Alex Bielli contributed three kills.
"This was the first night we have had a full team since maybe our fifth match of the season," Hicks said. "Then we lost Anna Kroup tonight. Now we are back to not full strength for Friday's match against Broadalbin-Perth, which is one we really need everybody healthy for."
The Lady Bills and Huskies have both qualified for sectional play this year.