The bar has been set high for the Williamsville East High School girls volleyball team. Such is life when you’re the program that has dominated Class A locally in recent years. And this year’s Flames have proven to be up to the challenge again in 2017.
“The girls want all that’s out there that we’ve done the last couple of years,” coach Scott Wright said after Tuesday’s 25-12, 25-11, 25-12 win over ECIC I rival Starpoint. “They just keep trying hard and have high goals. We want to keep the ball rolling.”
Williamsville East is the three-time Class A Section VI champion and has also won the Far West Regional title and reached the state championship match in each of the last two seasons. The Flames have won the ECIC I crown six times in the last seven seasons. So suffice to say, everyone has the Williamsville East match circled on the calendar. Wright and the Flames have become accustomed to that and they’re up to the challenge.
“For years being the person looking up to the other teams and then for the last eight years being the team that people are gunning for, it’s a little different,” Wright said. ” You have to work just as hard or harder to stay ahead of everyone else. You’re always going to get everyone’s best and you have to respond in kind.”
The Flames have done just that so far, winning their first four matches and remaining the top-ranked large school in Western New York. Williamsville East also showed it can still compete with the best, placing third at the tough St. Mary’s of Lancaster Tournament.
The Flames have been forced to move on after the graduation of outside hitter Lexi school’s all-time leader in kills. But plenty remains for Williamsville East, including senior setter Makayla
Greenfield, who recoreded 1,129 assists last season, good for second in all of New York State. Senior outside hitter Allie Jozwiak and junior outside hitter Rachel Steffan also have plenty of varsity experience and have come up big early on for the Flames. Some others have also stepped up for Williamsville East including the likes of Christy Mack, Allison Jozwiak, Nikki Polokoff, Madeline Reid, Gracie Wendell and Skyllar Cicero.
“I have some real good core players,” Wright said, “and I’m really happy with the people that didn’t have roles last year that have roles now and have really done a nice job filling in for the people that left. “
East moved to 4-0 in ECIC I with the sweep of a young Starpoint team that appears to be a force in the future with an undefeated junior varsity team and four sophomores on the varsity squad.
“Every time you have a league game it’s a must win because it sets you up for playoff seeding,” Wright said. “Winning league games is our goal all the time.”