Weekly Feature

2017-10-12 / Sports

Girls volleyball squad sweeps three league matches

Sports Reporter

Abby Ryan of Orchard Park steps up and defends a serve in the Lady Quakers’ win over Lancaster Thursday. 
Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Abby Ryan of Orchard Park steps up and defends a serve in the Lady Quakers’ win over Lancaster Thursday. Photo by Jake FrenchPurchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com It appears the Orchard Park girls volleyball team is hitting its stride at just the right time. The Lady

Quakers got three big league wins last week to move to 6-2 in league play and 11-3 overall. They defeated Jamestown, Frontier and Lancaster in league play, winning all three matches in three sets. They’re playing well at all aspects of the game.

“I don’t know what the simple answer is,” Orchard Park coach Greg Lardo said. “I think we’re doing a lot of things better. We’re serving the ball in a lot more. We’re not making careless errors. The thing we talk about all the time is trying to be better at defense. We’re keeping the ball off the floor and making teams believe that it’s really hard to score points against us and hopefully make them do things that are out of character for them.”

The win over Lancaster was especially sweet, considering they lost to the Lady Legends earlier in the season. They’re hoping to replicate that success against Clarence and other top teams.

“We’ve won the first game in all of our matches this year. Against Lancaster and Clarence, we lost in four after that. Even when we started out hot and think we have them on the ropes, we’ve had those slip-ups throughout the year,” Lardo said. “I know that playing at home is a big deal for us and we had a big crowd. It was probably our biggest crowd all year. That helped us out a lot. You could see the mentality of my girls before the game; we knew we were going to play well. You can tell a lot just by the way a team warms up and their focus and energy. Everything was just kind of coming together. Beating them 3-0, especially at home, we were pretty excited about that.”

The Lady Quakers will have a busy two weeks to close the season. They’ll have Williamsville North, Clarence and St. Mary’s this week before taking on West Seneca West and Eden, then the Hamburg Tournament the next week. They’re focusing on taking things one match at a time and continuing to do what they did in the past week.

“Last week we had three matches, before that we only had one so we knew we were going to have three for the next three weeks,” Lardo said. “I know the following week we have West Seneca West, Eden and the Hamburg Tournament as well. We’re kind of booked up to end the season. But I guess it’s good because we’re playing better now than we did at the end of the year. We’ll just take each game as it comes. I know we got ahead of ourselves talking about Clarence, but Williamsville North took us to five the first time we played them at our place. We’re trying not to look past them. Their gym is always a hard place to play as well. Nothing else really matters unless we can take care of this game and just get one game at a time.”

The team is in good shape heading into stretch run of the regular season. They are currently second in ECIC I, with wins over every team but Clarence. But they did put forth a solid effort against the Lady Red Devils early in the season. Plus, they’re playing better than they have all season. They’ll have a lot at stake when they take on Clarence Thursday.

“We lost those first two games – one to Lancaster and one to Clarence, they were both away,” Lardo said. “I know our girls really want to beat Clarence now just because Clarence has been undefeated for a few years now in the division. I think they dropped one game to Lancaster last year. We think we have a good chance. We know Lancaster and Clarence are really good teams, so to make it a guarantee that we can play all of our playoff games at home is really our goal. We won’t get the one seed, because Clarence will get it. But if we play them in the finals, that will be at a neutral site. That’s really our goal for this week, so hopefully we can take care of both of those matches.”

email: tnigrelli@beenews.com

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