Madison Smith had 12 kills to lead No.6 Williamsville East over No.11 Kenmore West in three straight sets in their Section VI Class A pre-quarterfinal game played Wednesday at East.
Winning by scores of 25-12, 25-19, and 25-17 the Flames advanced to Friday’s quarterfinals where they will play No.3 Hamburg.
With 11 underclassmen on the roster, the Flames’ season was a long and winding road of trying to build confidence each day. There has been no such thing as an easy night or a meaningless win.
“I think it’s really important especially with a younger team to build confidence in our younger players,” said sophomore Lily Mucica, who had nine assists for the Flames. “Our seniors Maddy (Smith), Grace (Dates), and Emma (Vande Velde) really help out with that. “
The Flames cruised in the opening set holding a 10 point margin most of the time. The second and third sets were a much different story as the Blue Devils played more efficiently. East was happy to be pushed to the limit because the last thing they wanted at this stage of the season was a pushover win.
“We started the year with the notion that we’d be better off by the end than we were in the beginning of the year,” East coach Scott Wright said. “We started off 0-3 against good competition. We really started clicking and turning it around and we ended up 8-8 with four of our wins against top (Class) AA competition so I couldn’t be more happy with the steps we’ve been taking during the year.”
Along with having a slight edge in height, the Flames ran a solid 6-2 offense which allows them to get multiple hitters involved in their attack.
“I think it’s a great weapon to have three hitters at all times,” Mucica said. “Our lefty, Summer Clark, she’s really good. And with our senior Maddy Smith-that sets up our hitters to do really well.”
Ken-West coach Brittany Lis said the final score did not reflect the sense of battle her team showed. Even when they lost a point the Blue Devils remained confident they could win the next point or set.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the energy that they had coming out here and their will to win,” Lis said. “Just to be on the court and play with each other…its the best we’ve played all season.”
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