Lady Rams volleyball open season against familiar foe

AHS Lady Rams Volleyball team ready for the first serve. Photo by Scott Mulford.
Amsterdam’s Maria Lomanto. Photo by Scott Mulford.

While AHS teams have left the Big 10 conference and will face a full schedule of Foothills Council teams this year, the Amsterdam Lady Rams varsity volleyball team opened their 2014 campaign against a familiar foe: the Schenectady Lady Patriots. The Lady Rams fell to their long time former conference rival 25-19, 25-13, 25-21, Tuesday night at Amsterdam high School, but the match became a stepping stone toward a competitive season in a new conference.

“Our movement got better as the match went on,” said AHS varsity head coach Christine Sherlock when asked about her teams improvement after the Broadalbin Tip Off tournament this past weekend that gave the Lady Rams a glimpse of some opponents they will face this year. “We need to play a lot better to be competitive. I expect us to play better.”

The Lady Rams trailed early in the first game but fought back to tie the score twice. Jessica Anderson was consistent in keeping the ball in play and served up five points knotting the score at 13-13. Schenectady’s Camille Nowak responded with three service points following a side out to boost the Lady Patriots lead to 17-13, but the lead would be short lived as Brittanie Brown tallied three points off her serve equaling the score at 17-17.

“She takes on the challenge of a being a team leader on the court ,” Sherlock said of Brown who led the Lady Rams not only with 11 service points, two aces and one kill, but as an encouragement to her teammates.

Schenectady closed out the first game and dominated game two led by Jennifer Layven who led the Lady Patriots with 13 service points and six aces for the match. Josemarie Marrero (5 points) and Silay Lockett (6 points) built a 17-10 lead in Schenectady’s game two victory. Camille Nowak served out the second game and led Schenectady with six kills for the match.

The Lady Rams built a 6-2 lead early in game three behind four service points from Cinderea Chrzanowski, and a pair of kills by Maria Lomanto. Schenectady drew even behind the serve of Cy’anne Frazier (8 points, 4 aces) before Amsterdam’s Kateland Cooks gave the Lady Rams a 7-6 lead. The lead would go back and forth after several side outs and the game would be knotted at 13-13 after three points from Brown. The teams continued to battle back and forth staying within a point of each other until Amsterdam senior Destinee Smith put the Lady Rams on top 22-21.

“Destinee is our most experienced player,” Sherlock said. “She’s dedicated to playing the game and played club ball in the off season. She’s a good leader on and off the court and she doesn’t make excuses.”

Nowak’s hit over the net halted the Lady Rams rally putting the ball in the hands of Ruverlynn Marrero who served out the match with the last point striking the net and falling over. The Lady Rams had a good test in their opening match of the new season with many more tough matches to come in the Foothills Council.

“Better competition,” Sherlock said when asked of the advantages of playing in the new council. “Hopefully it will bring our level of play up as well.”

Amsterdam gets it’s first match against one of the Foothills council’s toughest opponents when they take on the defending champion Lady Patriots today at Broadalbin Perth High School. The varsity match is scheduled to begin at 5:30pm. The two teams met in a closely contested match last weekend in the Lady Patriots Tip Off tournament.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.