Youngsville edges Sheffield in county clash

Sheffield’s Emily Leichtenberger (22) tries to block an attempted kill from Youngsville’s Andrea Sveda (20) during their match at Sheffield High School, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The two battled at the net all match with Leichtenberger putting down 10 kills and Sveda getting seven kills and six blocks.

Youngsville and Sheffield volleyball players might start carpooling

to matches together at this rate.

For the third time already in this young season, the Lady Eagles and Lady Wolverines met on the court. They had a preseason scrimmage together, then split their two meetings at the Brockway Tournament last weekend. Thursday, they squared off in Sheffield for a dual match.

Youngsville came away with a 3-1 (21-25, 26-24, 25-19 and 25-22) win.

“The first and second sets we were flat and not playing good defense,” Youngsville coach Vicky Montecalvo said. “We picked it up in the third and fourth and really pushed ourselves.”

“They’re a scrappy team,” Sheffield coach Melissa Lemay said. “We’re pretty even.”

Youngsville’s Amber Evans (4) sets the ball for a teammate during a match against Sheffield at Sheffield High School, Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.

The teams showed just how even in the early going. Neither was able to get more than a 2-point advantage through the first 20 points of the match. A Marissa Grubbs ace gave the Wolverines the biggest lead of the first set at 13-9. The Eagles battled through the set and got to within a point at 16-15, but Sheffield retook command to go back up 19-16. Youngsville again got to within one, but Emily Leichtenberger was able to put a kill down through Andrea Sveda’s attempted block to keep Sheffield ahead. The Wolverines were able to hold off the Eagles to win the set.

Youngsville didn’t let the momentum carry over and took the early lead in the second. An Amber Evans ace and Kamryn Weissinger block had the Eagles up 4-2. Sveda then returned the favor on Leichtenberger with a kill through a block to make it 5-2. Trailing by two, Sheffield went on a 4-0 run to grab an 8-6 lead. The teams again exchanged leads and ties, with neither going ahead by more than three. A Mallory Sherrard ace tied it at 22, but Sheffield scored the next two to get to set point. The Eagles fought back and Evans’ third ace of the set tied it at 24. Youngsville got to set point and Sveda put up a big block to even the match at 1-1.

“We’ve been talking about finding ways to just push through,” Montecalvo said. “It’s night and day different than it was at the beginning of the season.”

The Eagles jumped out to a 7-2 lead to start the third. A kill and block from Lynzie Grubbs on consecutive points got the Wolverines within three and Annabel Sheldon served an ace to cut the lead to 8-6. Leading 12-10, Youngsville scored five of the next six points to push the advantage to 17-11. Sheffield tried to battle back, but Youngsville was able to hold them off for the win and a 2-1 match lead.

“It’s just a mental thing,” Lemay said. “They played with confidence, then we lose the second (set) and it just spirals.”

Marissa Grubbs’ ace early in the fourth had Sheffield up 4-2, but Sherrard’s block two points later tied it at 4-4. Again, these two teams showed just how even they are by trading leads and ties, with neither able to get more than a 3-point advantage. With the Eagles leading 15-14, Sveda met Leichtenberger at the net again. This time Sveda was able to get the block for a 16-14 Youngsville advantage. Back-and-forth they went again to 22-22. Youngsville got the point and Evans stepped to the service line. She served out a pair of aces to secure the match win.

“The girls really want to win,” Montecalvo said. “We’re trying to keep positive and the girls are really embracing that.”

“Hat’s off to them,” Lemay said. “They came ready to play, didn’t get down and battled.”

Evans finished with five aces and 23 service points. Victoria Bull added four kills.

“Bull had a great game,” Montecalvo said. “Strong passing, good defense and her hits.”

Marissa Grubbs had seven kills, four aces and 18 digs. Annabel Sheldon had seven kills, four aces and 24 digs, while Lynzie Grubbs added seven kills and three blocks and Megan Johnson had four kills, 12 digs and 26 assists.

As for that battle at the net between Sveda and Leichtenberger?

Sveda had seven kills and six blocks and Leichtenberger had 10 kills.

“It’s almost like jousting,” Lemay said of the net play. “I’m going to come and you and you’re going to come at me and we’ll see who flinches. What’s really fun is both of them are juniors, so we’ll get to see it more.”

Youngsville won the junior varsity match 12-25, 25-19 and 15-13 for its first JV win of the season.

“The girls played hard and dug deep,” Youngsville assistant coach Sarah Dwyer said. “They came back and fought. I’m really happy for their first win.”

Ana McCracken and Alexa Whipple each had five kills in the loss, while Maddy Roell added 12 digs.

Both teams will be at home Tuesday. Sheffield hosts Ridgway, while Youngsville welcomes Iroquois.