AVON — On Friday night, the No. 3 seed Penn Yan girls volleyball team was hoping to lock up its second straight Section V Class C1 championship game when they squared off against No. 1 Attica.
Despite playing their hearts out, the Mustangs fell to the Blue Devils, 3-2.
“It was our goal the whole time to get here, and we got here,” said Penn Yan coach Eileen Wunder, whose team had dropped a four-set match against Attica during the regular season.
“We had a tough season. Our center was out for three weeks with a knee injury. We lost one of our starters to a broken ankle, and we lost another starter to a broken ankle, but we kept on coming back, so I could not be more proud of these girls and how they played the whole season. We had kids step up, we ended the season with kids who were starting that were on the JV team two weeks ago — and here we are in game five.”
The Mustangs (12-9) jumped to a 5-1 advantage in the first set, which then evolved into a 14-3 advantage. Penn Yan kept dominating and won the set 25-13.
Attica would claim an 8-1 lead to start off the second set, which grew to 12-3. Penn Yan didn’t go down without a fight, however, as they scored five straight points to make it 12-8. The Mustangs kept themselves in the game, as they eventually made it a 24-21 affair. However, the Blue Devils hung on to win it 25-23.
Things were tightly contested in the early stages of the third set as both teams battled to a 3-3 tie. After trading points, it was Attica that claimed a narrow 11-8 lead. The battle of points continued throughout the set, but it was the Blue Devils who hung on 25-23.
Much like the third set, the fourth set was very back and forth as the teams went tick for tack in a 7-7 draw. Penn Yan would dig deep and claim a 12-10 lead before extending it to 16-10. The Mustangs would carry that momentum to a 25-15 set victory, setting up a thrilling finale.
With things tied at 5-5, the Blue Devils stormed to an 11-6 advantage. Penn Yan continued to show their no-quit mentality as they rallied to make it a 23-18 game. Attica was able to escape with the 25-19 victory and their first sectional championship since 2006.
“We played with heart,” Wunder added. “We played with more heart than Attica did.”
Senior Caitlin Wunder wrapped up her high school career with 30 kills, 3 aces, and 15 digs. Classmate Serina Sheradin had 41 assists, 4 kills, and 5 digs. Kayla Andersen chipped in with 4 kills, 3 digs, 4 blocks, and an ace.
Sophomore middle hitter Jammie Decker made the all-tournament team with her 14-kill, 9-dig, 2-ace performance. Wunder also was selected to all-tournament team, along with Mynderse Academy’s Sydney Haust.
“I think throughout my career our teams have had so much heart and cared so much,” CaitlinWunder said. “All of my teams have been like a family, and that has helped us on the court. Tonight we just couldn’t get it together.”
The loss also ended an era when mother coached both of her daughters in high school.
“It was a struggle sometimes,” Caitlin chuckled. “There was a lot of arguing, but at the end of the day I love her. It’s fun learning from her and seeing her coach other people. To see her do that for other people is cool.”
“It was always a challenge,” Elieen said with a laugh, “because you have to go home. When Caitlin was a freshman she didn’t play very much. She’d come home mad at me. When she was a sophomore and she only played in the front row because her older sister was on the team ... she didn’t get the sets and she was mad at me.
“I’m ready to be done coaching my kids.”