LE ROY — Describing what has been happening with the Pavilion girls volleyball team this fall isn’t an easy assignment.
Because when you are 25-0, winning back-to-back sectional titles, including not losing a single set all season, something that has never been done in Section V before, “indescribable” would be most accurate.
Pavilion took their game to a whole other level Saturday in front of a packed house at Le Roy Saturday afternoon as they swept Section VI champion Chautauqua Lake 25-23, 25-10, and 26-24 in the Far West Regionals to advance to this Saturday’s Final Four at Glens Galls.
The architect of this year’s dream season, head coach Rex Eighmey, said once his kids shook off some early nerves they were fine.
In the first set, Chautauqua Lake got off to a good start and held an 18-13 lead before Pavilion battled back to take a 21-19 lead, then after it was 23-23, Pavilion was able to side out to make 24-23 and Sara Laurie served the last point while Lauren Kingsley pounded out a kill to close out the set.
“After some early nerves we were able to play our game,” coach Eighmey said. “Chautauqua Lake is a great team, the best we played all year.”
Pavilion led from start to finish in the second set and the third set looked much of the same early on as the Gophers built some early four point leads before extending it to 20-13.
That’s when things got interesting.
Chautauqua Lake would go on a 9-2 run to take a 22-21 lead.
After a time out Chautauqua missed a serve and then Pavilion took advantage to go up 24-23 before CL earned a side out to extend the game into extra points at 24-all.
After another missed serve put Pavilion back up 25-24. Paige Landers’ tough serve helped Pavilion win the set and match.
Like all 25 victories, this win for Pavilion was also a team effort with seven players contributing.
Shannon Campbell led the Gophers with 23 assists and 4 digs while Karlee Zinkievich played amazing with 10 digs, 4 kills and a lot of hustle plays.
Lauren Kingsley had a great game as well with 12 point-swaying kills and 8 digs while Adeline Miligan had a wonderful effort with 8 kills and 8 digs. Shea Amberger played great at the net and finished with 5 kills and 2 blocks while Landers once again came up with some big service points.
“We got great middle play by Lauren Kingsley and Shea Amberger that made it tough on their defense,” coach Eighmey said. “As always our tough serving makes it hard for other teams to get in a rhythm. We were able to attack and kept them off balance and as always our competitiveness comes through. What a great match the team played.”
Coach Eighmey said he and his girls are overwhelmed with the support they are receiving from not only the Pavilion community but surrounding communities as well.
“We are able to get a student spectator bus for these matches and I’m seeing friends and people I haven’t seen in years,” coach Eighmey said. “It is great to see all the fans coming out. To steal a football term, it’s like the seventh player. The fans absolutely spur the team on with their cheering and support. When they give a standing ovation at match point it’s one of the most amazing things in sports. The team and I say it’s such as great feeling and the best feeling besides actually winning the match. I’ve been getting emails and texts from other coaches such as Kaitlyn Kolb (York), Amy Colosimo (HAC), Andy Braun (Avon). Marcia Hirsch (Alexander) and some of her players have come. It is amazing the support we are getting from the Section V teams. We have a lot of faculty and staff coming to these matches as well. It’s great for the players to see administration and faculty out to cheer them on.”
Pavilion will travel this week to Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls, the mecca of high school championships, to take on the other three regional champions in Galway (Sec. II), Candor (Sec. IV) and Mount Academy (Sec. IX).
Candor (21-1) is the defending state champion.
The two-day final four begins with pool-play semifinals Saturday. The Class D championship match is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday.