Nearly two weeks ago the Amsterdam High School varsity volleyball team completed a 4-2 record in pool play at the Broadalbin-Perth Tip Off Tournament providing a sense of optimism that the Lady Rams could improve from a pair of seasons in which the program won no more than three matches per season. Thursday night, Amsterdam faced one of the few opponents they’ve had success against since joining the Foothills Council in 2014, the Glens Falls Lady Indians. It proved to be yet another closely contested, dramatic match. But boosted by 20 service points from Ella Kules, Glens Falls pulled out a 25-22, 18-25, 25-20, 25-20 win at Amsterdam High School.
“They were competitive,” Amsterdam coach Christine Sherlock said of her team, “All I want them to do is compete and they did. Glens Falls is an improved team.”
Each game involved several ties and lead changes with the two teams often separated by no more than a single point. Glens Falls finally gained some momentum in game one behind the serve of Kules who helped her team out to a 12-7 lead with three straight service points. A kill by AHS senior Kateland Cooks broke the Glens Falls momentum, but Amsterdam had trouble maintaining its serve committing seven service errors in the opening game, a factor that would continue throughout the match.
“Yesterday (against Johnstown) our serve was on,” Coach Sherlock said. “Today our service errors came at poor times.”
The Lady Rams couldn’t gain an advantage as three straight service mistakes kept Glens Falls a step ahead. AHS continued to battle and managed to take the lead after a pair of aces from Giuliana Pritchard, but Glens Falls got the ball back on a short serve into the net giving Kules a chance to record six more points off serve and eventually finish off the first game win. Amsterdam responded in the second game.
Once again the two teams were a mere one point apart with kills by Pritchard and Glens Falls’ Emma Bayle proving significant at the net. AHS senior Maria Lomanto finally provided some consistency from the service line ripping off four points including an ace for a 9-4 AHS lead. A kill by Cooks on Kules’ serve later gave Ashlin Glionna a chance to increase the Lady Rams advantage to 18-9 with five solid points. Glionna finished the night with 14 service points, six in game two, to lead AHS. The teams traded side outs until a kill by Kules made it 24-18 AHS, but Cooks once again broke Kules serve with a kill to complete the game two win. Cooks ended the night with a team high nine kills.
“The game we played tonight was almost identical to the game we played last night,” Coach Sherlock said.
Amsterdam won the first game of its match at Johnstown on Wednesday night before dropping the next three. And just like the night before, game three against Glens Falls was a true test of endurance putting the winner of that game in position to take the match.
Kules was at her best when it counted most again in game three. With the score knotted at 16-16, Kules helped Glens Falls pull away with six straight points off her serve, but was also aided by a pair of Amsterdam mistakes that had them out of position on the court, and when a hitter made contact with the net. Fundamental miscues hindered the AHS cause. A point off the serve of Jessica Jarvis got Glens Falls closer to the win, and a hit by Emma Bayle sealed it putting Glens Falls up two games to one. Game four turned out to be more of the same for AHS. The effort was there but, the result not what the Lady Rams wanted.
A double hit and a missed hit on a kill attempt put Glens Fals in front 5-3 during the serve of Anna Bayle. A kill by AHS’ Morgan Durinick forced a side out and allowed Glionna to record an ace for a 6-5 AHS lead, but Emma Bayle responded with a kill of her own to tie things up again. Later, a kill by Kules forced a side out allowing Jarvis a chance to serve up four consecutive points including an ace for a 12-9 Glens Falls lead. However, the lead was short lived as Amsterdam’s Cinderea Chrzanowski put her team back in front with three points of her own and a 13-12 margin in favor of the Lady Rams.
Glens Falls’ Hayley Levebre battled right back with four service points putting the Lady Indians in front once again, but AHS middle hitter Katelan Cooks gave every ounce of energy she had with three big kills, one to stop the Glens Falls rally and the next two during Durinicks’ serve to help AHS pull even at 17-17. A missed hit on a kill attempt gave the ball and the lead back to Glens Falls, and gave Kules another chance to score points off her serve. The most consistent player at the service line from either team wasted no time in giving her team the lead again with a pair of points at 20-17 and an advantage they would not relinquish. Emma Bayle and Cooks would each record one more kill before Alyssa Fairchild ended the match with three points from serve. A tough loss for AHS but the effort was obviously there.
“We didn’t execute at times today, and we made some mental mistakes,” Coach Sherloock said. “But, I have no complaints about their hustle. We need to stick with the game plan and trust each other.”
Glens Falls finished with 52 service points compared to Amsterdam’s 42. Maria Lomanto had eight points for AHS with a pair of aces. Morgan Durinick had nine points, and Giuliana Pritchard recorded four kills for the Lady Rams.
Jessica Jarvis finished with nine points for Glens Falls. Her teammate Alyssa Fairchild added seven points, and Emma Bayle recorded five kills.
Amsterdam’s next home game is Wednesday against a former Big 10 foe, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons. The varsity match is scheduled to begin at 6pm at AHS.