Red Storm sweeps rival Lake Placid in volleyball

Lake Placid’s Grace Crawford, right, and Saranac Lake’s Nora Glover battle at the net. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

LAKE PLACID — Sometimes teams can show a bit of letdown after capturing a big-time, emotional victory, and especially when the next opponent has been struggling. That certainly wasn’t the case with Saranac Lake’s volleyball players.

After knocking Peru from the unbeaten ranks on Monday, the Red Storm chalked up another win on Thursday, claiming a 3-0 sweep on the road over Lake Placid.

Facing a Blue Bombers squad that has won just once this season, Saranac Lake triumphed by 25-18, 25-12 and 25-20 scores in a match that turned out to be exciting and competitive, despite lasting just three games.

Each game was close early on, with both teams trading leads, but each time down the stretch, Saranac Lake was able to pull away while improving to 8-3 in the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference. The Blue Bombers were a much more improved squad than when the teams met for the first time early in the season, but in the end, the Red Storm turned in another solid performance to get the job done.

With Sydney Andronica and Marissa Gibbs leading the defensive effort and Danielle Gonyea pacing play along the net, Saranac Lake proved to be the tough opponent the young Blue Bombers were expecting. Lake Placid, however, never backed down, and that pleased their first-year coach Sandy Huber.

Dylan Bashaw plays the ball for Saranac Lake while teammate Barrett Smith and Saranac Lake's Marissa Gibbs (7) and Kaity Burdt stand ready. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

“Saranac Lake is just so strong right now, and they are on fire after their big win against Peru. We knew they’d be coming in confident and strong,” Huber said. “I just asked our girls to play their best and they did. I was really proud of how our team played tonight. We fought hard for every point, we communicated well, we dug a lot of balls that we wouldn’t have gotten earlier in the season.”

Andronica and Gibbs both finished with a match-high 16 digs, and Gonyea turned in a well-rounded performance that included 10 points, five aces and eight kills. Gonyea said she knew from the start that the Blue Bombers were much better team than the one that lost to Saranac Lake back on Sept. 13, also by a 3-0 score, and added that it took the Red Storm a little time to settle into the match.

“They’ve definitely changed a lot since the last time we played them,” Gonyea said. “They were transitioning and setting it up instead of just throwing the ball over. We got the digs up and put the ball down. I think we lacked a little bit of communication and transitioning, but once we got that together, the team flowed nicely.”

Gonyea added that although Lake Placid isn’t as strong as some other teams in the CVAC, it doesn’t take away from the longstanding rivalry between the two schools.

“Because they’re so close, they’re rivals,” Gonyea said. “Beating Peru was a high, but we play every game with heart.”

Red Storm team memmbers Katie Gay (9), Danielle Gonyea and Meagan O'Brien, right, move toward the ball in Thursday's match. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Katie Gay also had a solid outing for the Red Storm, finishing with a match-high 15 points. Evelynn Sharp led Lake Placid at the net with eight kills, and also contributed 8 assists and five digs. Also for the Blue Bombers, Grace Crawford had 12 digs and five kills, Barrett Smith recorded nine digs and Rose Burns finished with a team-high eight points.

Huber said she was happy with her team’s ability to keep things close.

“We’ve had a couple other really strong matches but couldn’t get enough points against strong teams, but I think today we stayed positive and didn’t let ourselves get in any big holes,” Huber said. “If the other team’s server gets on a big streak, we sometimes fall apart a bit, and it’s hard to get out of that. I was proud of the girls mental game, staying positive and playing together.”

Saranac Lake coach Mike Navarra credited Gonyea with a solid night, and thought the rest of the Red Storm also performed well.

“I’m happy with the way they played; I’m happy with the way they communicated; I’m happy I was able to get of my backups in. They did a great job,” he said.

Saranac Lake next plays at home Monday against Northern Adirondack starting at 6 p.m. Lake Placid’s next match is on the road Monday at Peru.

Saranac Lake – Andronica 4 points, 2 aces, 16 digs; Bearce 4 points, 1 ace, 4 assists; Gonyea 10 points, 5 aces, 8 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks; Glover 3 digs; Gibbs 1 point, 3 kills, 16 digs; O’ Brien 7 points, 1 ace, 2 kills, 6 assists, 2 digs; K. Gay 15 points, 1 ace, 3 kills, 2 assists, 4 digs; M. Gay 4 points, 2 kills, 3 digs; Burdt 3 points, 3 digs; Leeret 1 point, 1 dig.

Lake Placid – Kelly 1 kill; Hudson 1 ace, 3 digs; Sharp 2 points, 8 kills, 5 digs, 1 block, 8 assists; Smith 1 point, 2 aces, 3 kills, 9 digs; Armstrong 3 points; Bashaw 5 points, 1 ace, 3 kills, 4 digs, 1 block, 4 assists; Crawford 1 ace, 5 kills, 12 digs, 1 block; Burns 8 points, 2 aces, 4 digs, 1 assist.

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