By Rob Potter
Lake Huntington To say that the Fallsburg Lady Comets and Coach Andrea Millas were happy following their victory over the host Sullivan West Lady Bulldogs on Wednesday in an Orange County Interscholastic Athletic Association (OCIAA) Division II volleyball match would be an understatement.
Millas and her players were ebullient, ecstatic and overjoyed following their 25-18, 12-25, 25-23, 25-23 triumph over the Lady Bulldogs.
“It has been so long since we’ve won a match,” Millas said moments after the contest concluded. “I’m very excited right now.
“This is my second year coaching the team and we didn’t win a match last season,” she continued. “I don’t think we even won a set last season. I’m so excited for my players, they played a great match.”
Fallsburg (1-5, 1-5 Division II) took Game 1 with a late surge. Consecutive aces by Daniela Gonzalez gave the Lady Comets a 20-13 advantage. Gonzalez and her teammates kept that momentum going and won the game moments later when a SW serve went into the net.
The Lady Bulldogs came out fired up in Game 2, however. Amanda Kehrley served four aces as SW (1-5, 1-5 Division II) jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Fallsburg steadily closed the gap, pulling to within 12 points at 24-12. But a net serve gave the Lady Bulldogs a 25-12 win and evened the match at one game apiece.
In Game 3, SW took an early 9-4 lead thanks to an ace by Amber McGibbon. The Lady Comets responded with a 9-4 run to knot the score at 13-13. Bryanna Kolja served two aces and Stefanie Benjamin made a kill to help Fallsburg pull even.
The game was tied five more times before the Lady Comets prevailed, 25-23, on two consecutive bad hits by SW.
Game 4 was very close and competitive as the score was tied on 14 occasions. With the teams even at 23-23, the Lady Bulldogs were called for a lift and Fallsburg was awarded a point.
Seconds later, a SW return hit the net to give the Lady Comets their long awaited victory.
Leading Fallsburg to the win were Benjamin, Gonzalez and Kolja. Gonzalez had 13 points, five aces and two kills; Kolja registered 12 points, five aces, three kills and one assist; and Benjamin added six digs and six kills.
Millas noted that good serving and team chemistry were keys to her team’s victory.
“They served the ball very well and didn’t make too many errors,” she said of the Lady Comets. “We have a core group of players who have been on the team for a couple of seasons. They work very well together and help each other. Whenever a player goes up to the net, someone has her back.”
Jackie Parsons and Morgan Pretty paced SW. Parsons had 10 points, four kills and one block, while Pretty recorded four kills, two blocks and two digs.
“Fallsburg wanted it more than we did today,” SW Coach Cliff Kelly said. “They were hustling and diving on the floor for the ball. They played well.”
Kelly noted that his team struggled with two integral components of volleyball serving and passing.
“We didn’t serve the ball well,” he said. “We also made a lot of bad passes and didn’t receive the ball well. Receiving the ball is key because it starts your offense. You need to make good passes and have everyone in their positions to score points.”