CANANDAIGUA — It took three extra days, but the Waterloo girls volleyball team finally captured the hardware it intended to secure this past weekend.
After Saturday’s Section V Class CC final was postponed due to a leaky ceiling at Avon High School, the top-seeded Indians came back Tuesday evening to claim their third straight sectional title with a 3-1 win over second-seeded Attica at Canandaigua Academy.
Waterloo — which has won 18 straight matches since opening the season with a loss — will play Class C champion Byron-Bergen (19-1) in the State Tournament Play-In Round Thursday at Caledonia-Mumford High School. The match is set for 6 p.m.
“This was the toughest year. (Attica) came alive, we came out on fire. Then we got a little content and they kept getting better and better and better,” Waterloo coach and Class CC Coach of the Year Christal Jensen said.
“I don’t think one of those girls has asked me about the winning streak, we just focus on that day. We always talk about (how) we don’t want this to be our last practice, we don’t want this to be our last match, and their faces never even look like they think it might be. They seem really focused right now.”
It’s the third consecutive season that Waterloo has beaten the Blue Devils (14-6) in the sectional title match, the two previous matches ended in 3-0 sweeps.
“People always say how hard it is to beat a team three times so I feel like that was a main goal this year,” said Lauren Deming, who took home MVP honors. “It’s definitely been a struggle because we lost so many girls from last year but we did it obviously.”
Deming chalked up 19 digs, nine kills and four blocks. Waterloo senior Ehren Nelson also made the all-tournament team.
The Indians got off to a fast 4-1 start, highlighted by a slam from Deming. A touch kill, a precision spike and then a ferocious point by the senior gave Waterloo an 8-2 edge.
The Blue Devils served six into the net or out of bounds to stymie their comeback efforts. A couple of kills by Whitney Conkey (all-tournament pick) helped inflate the lead.
Waterloo took seven of the final 13 points to take the first set 25-18. Waterloo senior Lindsay Johnson capped the game with a strong spike after Attica took four straight points.
Johnson finished with eight kills.
The Blue Devils took their first lead at 3-2 in the second set. The advantage was short lived, though, as the Indians took the lead right back with four straight points, including an ace by Brittanie Forde (5 aces).
Attica’s Lindsey Luce served her team ahead 9-7. Johnson ended Attica’s scoring with an across the net kill.
Forde again scored an ace to put Waterloo ahead 17-14 after some back and forth action. Up one, Deming sliced the defense with a monster kill that gave the Indians a two point lead that they never relinquished, taking a 25-19 win.
Deming and Chelsea Steinruck (16 digs) provided two soft drop kills to help the Indians take eight of the final 11 points.
“We focused on everything we’ve done all season, we always play better against tougher competition,” Jensen commented. “We were running plays and were all-around focused.”
The Indians trailed 9-6 in the third set. Waterloo finally erased the deficit and took the lead at 13-12 and then 14-13 with a kill from Johnson. But Attica closed out the third set 25-18 on an ace by Chelsey Luce.
Waterloo eventually took control of the fourth set when Chelsea France (15 digs, 6 kills) hammered a kill to break a six-all tie. France then followed with a pair of aces that helped inflate the lead to 10-6.
Attica pulled to within on at 14-13, but Waterloo rattled off five straight points. The Blue Devils eventually went ahead 20-19, but two kills down the stretch by Johnson helped carry the Indians to the 25-23 fourth set win and the match victory.
“I feel like it kind of became real to us that if we didn’t pick it up that was going to be it for us,” Deming remarked of the fourth set turnaround.
“I think the big thing was communication,” Johnson added. “We weren’t talking that third set and some of the balls dropped so we came together.”