Red Storm sweep Blue Bombers to snap skid
SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake volleyball team ended a five-match losing skid on Thursday, and it might have just taken facing a rival for the Red Storm to break out of their slump.
Playing at home, Saranac Lake claimed a three-set sweep over Lake Placid by scores of 25-15, 25-14 and 25-14. Each set started out close and on all three occasions, the Red Storm pulled away to win by double digits.
“I know a lot of us were coming in nervous because we had a five-game losing streak,” said junior Danielle Gonyea, who is a team co-captain along with Marissa Gibbs. “Tonight, we came back as a team, we communicated and we had fun. That was the most important part. I feel like we might be back in our rhythm. We talked well. The past few games we haven’t been hitting well and I think we got it back.”
Lake Placid led only two times during the match. In the first set, the Blue Bombers grabbed 2-0 and 3-1 edges before Saranac Lake took the lead for good after going up 6-5. After taking an 18-8 lead, Saranac Lake stayed ahead by double digits the rest of the way to claim the opening set.
Lake Placid also jumped in front at the outset of the second set, but again, Saranac Lake stormed back and never trailed after taking a 5-4 advantage. The closest the Blue Bombers got in the second set was a three-point deficit with the score at 14-11. The Red Storm responded with an 11-3 run to close the set out and take a 2-0 edge.
In the third set, Saranac Lake led 8-6 and then pulled away steadily to complete the sweep.
“They were much more consistent than we were. They did everything they needed to do,” Lake Placid coach Donna Moody said. “We didn’t serve very well. We didn’t play our best game but that’s not taking anything away from what Saranac Lake did. We have to get more consistent on the court.”
Five players finished with 10 or more service points for Saranac Lake, which completed a two-match season sweep of Lake Placid and evened its record at 5-5. Gibbs and Katie Gay led the way with 17 points each, Gonyea added 13 points, Meagan O’Brien chipped in a dozen and Madie Gay had 10 points. The Red Storm were also strong at the net and combined as a team to put down 20 kills.
“We were on a five-match losing streak and it wasn’t pretty,” Saranac Lake coach Mike Navarra said. It seemed like a ball that deflated. We’re into the second half of the season, they knew what to expect. They knew the teams we would play were getting progressively better. Tonight I saw some great positive things. Several of the players did exactly what I said they were capable of doing.
“I think the biggest thing tonight is they were actually swinging away,” Navarra continued. “They were able to get the set and not be afraid to hit the ball. They played great defense and actually communicated a lot better.”
Navarra credited Gibbs with a standout on the court for the Red Storm. The junior has been hampered by a sprained thumb for a good part of the season.
“I think Marissa Gibbs really stepped up after her injury,” Navarra said. “When she played in Peru (Tuesday), you could see she was a little hesitant to do things. Tonight she wasn’t hesitant. She not only served well tonight, she was picking up balls on defense and she controlled net and that’s what we need. We need someone to be a big hitter, a big blocker and just be there for the tips. If anybody stood out, she did. Marissa had an all around game that she should be proud about.”
The Blue Bombers fell to 2-9 with the setback. Graci Daby paced Lake Placid, finishing with a match-high eight kills. Laurel Miller recorded seven assists in the loss.
Saranac Lake next plays Monday at Northern Adirondack.
Lake Placid will also be in action Monday at home against Peru. The Blue Bombers will be hosting a fundraiser during the evening for one of their own, sophomore Sara McKillip, who is undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. It will be “Paint the Gym Purple Night” and money raised will help the McKillip family with expenses. The match is slated for 6 p.m.
Saranac Lake 3, Lake Placid 0
25-15, 25-14, 25-14
Andronica 6 points, 1 kills, 15 digs; Gonyea 1 assist, 1 ace, 13 points, 6 kills, 1 block, 3 digs; Gibbs 2 aces, 17 points, 3 kills, 9 digs; O’Brien 6 assists, 1 ace, 12 points, 2 kills, 5 digs; K. Gay 5 assists, 55 aces, 17 points, 6 kills, 5 digs; M. Gay 1 assist, 1 ace, 10 points, 2 kills 6 digs; Burat 1 assist; McCarthy 1 dig.
Miller 3 points, 1 ace, 7 assists, 2 kills; K. McKillip 2 points, 2 digs; Smith 1 kill, 1 dig; Daby 8 kills, 3 assists; Sawyer 2 points, 1 ace; Burns 2 points, 1 ace, 1 kill; Hathaway 1 point.