JOHNSTOWN - After one postseason game this much is apparent, taking the Section II Class B title from the Johnstown volleyball team will be no easy task.
The top-seeded Lady Bills cruised to a three-game win over ninth-seeded Cobleskill-Richmondville in the quarterfinals Friday at Johnstown High School.
Johnstown won by scores of 25-5, 25-11 and 25-15.
Johnstown’s Kadisha Vazquez (11) hits over the block attempt by Cobleskill-Richmondville’s Haley Monton (6) and Taylor Brooker (2) during Friday’s Section II Class B quarterfinal match at Johnstown High School. (The Leader-Herald/Paul Wager)
"The girls are all on the same page and they understand what the postseason means," Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said. "They know what it is to want it just as much as I tell them they should."
Sophomore Annie Stock powered the Lady Bills' attack, piling up 23 service points, 10 aces, 10 kills and nine digs. Jerica Holland posted 11 points, six assists and five aces for Johnstown, Zara Hyde had 11 assists and Elizabeth Hayward had 10 aces. Alyssa Nellis added five blocks for the Lady Bills, who gave their fans plenty to cheer about in their final home contest of the season.
"We had a great crowd and wonderful support," McGuire said. "It's hard not to want to come out and cheer for these girls. They're fun to watch and they're a great group of girls."
Alaina Thaxter led Cobleskill-Richmondville with three kills, while Vanessa Brand had four service points. Kat Weingarten added three service points for the Bulldogs.
Johnstown dominated Friday's quarterfinal contest from the outset, rolling to a 19-2 lead behind a three-point run from Brianne O'Rourke and a dominant 12-point run by Stock.
"We were like deer in the headlights in the first game," Cobleskill-Richmondville coach Brian LaVine said. "Annie Stock just killed us."
A three-point run by Hayward closed out the first game for Johnstown at 25-5.
In the second game, it was more of the same as Stock reeled off nine straight points to help the Lady Bills to a 12-3 lead.
"We knew she was going to hurt us all around, but she really hurt us with her serve in the first and second games," LaVine said.
Stock piled up three kills, while Hannah Breda also had three kills in the second game.
Following Stock in the serving rotation was Holland, a sophomore, who notched six straight points to extend the Johnstown lead to 19-5.
"Jerica and Annie are two of the toughest serving kids in the section," McGuire said. "To have them going back-to-back in the rotation is a tremendous advantage for us."
Johnstown went on to win the second game 25-11 to take a 2-0 lead.
In the third game, the Bulldogs stayed within striking distance most of the way.
"I'm really proud of them. We played with them in the third game," LaVine said. "We don't have the skill level they have, but I'm very happy with the way we didn't roll over."
With the score tied at 13-13, O'Rourke delivered a kill and three straight service points to give Johnstown a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Fittingly, Stock and Holland helped close out the game, combining for six service points down the stretch as Johnstown sealed the sweep with a 25-15 third-game win.
"We had all cylinders going tonight," McGuire said. "We had great chemistry and communication tonight."
Johnstown (14-3 overall) will face fourth-seeded Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in the semifinals Wednesday at Albany High School at 5 p.m. Bishop Gibbons topped fifth-seeded Holy Names on Friday, 3-1.
Cobleskill-Richmondville finishes its season with a 7-11 overall record.