FAIRPORT — A No. 1 seed facing a No. 2 seed in a championship match is usually a perfect recipe for an epic final battle.
At least on paper.
On certain occasions, the No. 1 is so dominant they simply can’t be touched. On Friday night at Fairport High School, Harley/Allendale-Columbia proved that the top two teams are not always as close as their seeds indicate.
The top-seeded Wolves remained unbeaten at 21-0 by rolling over No. 2-seeded Lyons in three sets, good for the Section V Class D2 championship.
After losing to Bishop Kearney and Cuba Rushford in the 2017 and 2018 finals, the victory was all the more sweet for HAC head coach Amy Colosimo.
“Oh yeah,” Colosimo said with a laugh. “They were hungry and they really wanted it. They have been working so hard for this.”
Lyons (19-4) did all they could to hang with the Wolves, but after a first-set loss of 25-18, HAC took hold of the momentum and ran away with the match, winning the final two sets 25-12 and 25-14.
“They don’t really have any weaknesses,” Lyons head coach Becky Collins said after the loss.
The match started out looking like it did on paper. Both teams exchanged points and showed a few nerves to begin. After a 3-3 start, Lyons scored three points in a row before HAC roared back with four points. Following the four-point swing, the Wolves seemed to settle in while Lyons made costly serving errors, net faults and botched kills.
HAC would gain the lead and take an 11-8 lead before a Lyons timeout. The Wolves remained unfazed and continued to feed Francesca Sorbella and Gia Chaney to extend the lead to 21-15.
The Wolves settled in nicely and played technically sound, defensive volleyball while making nearly no mistakes to take the first set 25-18 after Lyons scraped together a few points at the end.
Everything after the first set seemed to be going the way of HAC.
Despite getting a few calls their way, the Wolves looked simply unbeatable. Every single long rally ended with HAC winning the point and gaining every drop of momentum.
Even when Lyons made the perfect bump-set-spike combination, HAC seemed to dig every ball the Lions could hit. They were simply everywhere.
Not only is HAC talented, the camaraderie may have been the defining factor for total dominance. The girls seemed to be having the time of their lives on every point.
When asked whether it was their talent or camaraderie that pushed them over the top, Colosimo saw it as a 1-2 punch.
“I think it’s some of both,” Colosimo said. “We’ve got a lot of girls who play year-round, and we have a handful of seniors that have been on varsity since their sophomore year, and they saw what it’s like to work hard ... they’ve been to two sectional finals, so they’ve been working for this for three years now, and they are all pretty tight. They find a way to have fun together and play together.”
As for the Lyons, the silver lining can be found in their age.
Out of the 12 players on the roster, only two are graduating. Players such as Jenna Stone, Riley Decola and sophomore sensation Morgan Verbridge have one and even two more years of competing for a sectional title.
With the loss still fresh in her mind, Collins was visibly upset, but still motivated for 2020 and what this experience will provide.
“We know what we’re up against and what we need to work on to get to that last step,” she said.