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Live from Far West Regional volleyball: Eden, City Honors, C-LV win; Hamburg, NT fall

City Honors earned its first trip to the state tournament in 10 years Saturday by sweeping Section V Class C champion Nazareth, 25-18, 25-19, 25-7, in the Far West Regionals before an estimated 300 at Lockport High School.

Natalie Southard had 18 kills and five blocks, while senior Alysia Negron added 18 digs and 10 kills as the Centaurs (18-0) advanced to next Saturday's state gathering at the Civic Center in Glens Falls.

"It's a great accomplishment," Negron said. "It's taken us 10 years to get back to where we belong. ... It means a lot to us being a [Buffalo] city school."

"It feels amazing," Southard said. "It's indescribable almost."

City Honors is making its seventh state tournament appearance and has won four state titles, the last coming in 1995. The Centaurs lost in the state final in 1999.

* * *

Eden advanced to its 11th straight state tournament, cruising to a 25-10, 25-6, 25-12, win over Section V champion Wayne in the Class B regional.

Hannah Herc led the Raiders (53-1-1) with 10 kills and six digs, while Katie Eschner had eight kills and four aces.

Eden won its last state championship, its sixth, in 2007. Last year's title quest fell short in the final when a banged-up Raiders crew lost in five games to Hendrick Hudson.

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It's not about quantity, it's about quality. Cattaraugus-Little Valley is the proof in the pudding.

The Timberwolves advanced to their first state tournament Saturday, beating Section V champion Lyons, 25-21, 25-16, 25-20, in the Class D Far West Regional clash before an estimated 250 at Lockport.

After rallying to win its first Section VI championship a week and a half ago, Cattaraugus/Little Valley -- which has just eight girls on its volleyball roster -- relied on solid serving and and made the hustle plays a team needs to make to earn a shot at the title in Glens Falls.

Eighth-grader Sara Crandall was a force with 19 kills and 18 digs, while her sister Erin, a sophomore, had eight kills and 16 digs. Shelby Ellis had 26 digs, while setter Casey Miller finished with 30 assists for the T-Wolves (20-2).

"It's great," said coach Joe Crandall, the father of both Sara and Erin. "It's kind of a 'pinch-me' to see if it's real situation. The kids played great. It's an unbelievable feeling."

Lyons finished 21-4.

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The feel-good season for the Hamburg girls volleyball team came to an end at the hands of defending state Class A champion Victor on Saturday morning in the Far West Regionals.

The Section V champions beat the Bulldogs, 25-17, 25-18, 25-9, in a match played before an estimated 100 at Lockport.

Hamburg, which went from 1-13 last year to winning the program's first Section VI title under first-year coach John Crangle, didn't have the size or the talent possessed by Victor (20-4), which has all but one starter back from last year's team. The Blue Devils advance to the state tournament next week in Glens Falls.

Kiersten Krolikowski led Hamburg (14-10) with eight kills and five blocks, while Jessica Wood finished with 39 assists.

"We weren't on anyone's radar this year," Crangle said. "I think the girls have created a new identity for themselves and the program. ... The girls gained confidence on the court throughout the year and off the court, too. As a teacher and a coach that's the most important thing. They improved, they learned and they had fun."

Jessica Fessler led the winners with 13 kills, while Brigid Moore had 31 assists.

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In Class AA, Canandaigua (19-1) ended the stunning run of North Tonawanda (16-3), sweeping the Section VI champions, 25-15, 25-15 25-12. The Braves' size and skill proved to be too much for an undersized NT crew to overcome as Canandaigua finished with 10 blocks, while 6-foot-2 Kymberly Gordon (19 kills, three blocks) and 6-footer Liz Scott (eight kills, three blocks) altered countless other shots. Adding to NT’s woes, Braves setter Marissa King (35 assists) did a wonderful job passing to keep their attack unpredictable.

Lauren Metzger led NT with seven kills.

---Miguel Rodriguez

Extra extra: Read all about city boys soccer and a great Thursday night

Check out the bonus edition of Friday's High School Extra, which includes some great information collected by News Sports Reporter Miguel Rodriguez on Friday night's Class B boys soccer title game between Buffalo Public Schools City Honors and Grover Cleveland

There is also a ton on Thursday night's playoff action from soccer to volleyball to field hockey from across Western New York.

Speaking of a ton of action:

* Jay Skurski has the story on North Tonawanda and Hamburg winning girls volleyball titles.

* Correspondent Lauren Mariacher covers the Section VI girls gymnastics meet won by Frontier's Nicole Radon.

---Keith McShea

More from cross country

I wrote a story about this season's proliferation of eighth-graders succeeding in girls cross country for today's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here are some additional notes on the eighth-graders as well as notes on all sorts of cross country topics:

* * *

Among the top 18 at the 15-team Bemus Point Invitational were more eighth graders (five) than seniors (four).

Caroline Benson of Maple Grove won the race, while two other fellow eighth-graders were teammates … Emma Verdonik (fifth) and Abby Sirwatka (18th). Falconer's Kirsten Holmberg was third and Fredonia's Micaela Tramuta was 11th.

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Kiki Dy is an accomplished swimmer who came to the Newfane program from field hockey, while Sarah Ziemba and twins Kelly and Kate Bocknewetch all excelled in modified track and cross country last year.

Dy "fell into our lap," said Newfane coach Mike Heitzenrater. "Because of the way our league is run in swimming, with the girls competing in the winter, she could never qualify for states. So she said, "I want to do cross country and get to the states.' "

The youngsters have meshed well with senior Bethany Dewey and juniors Erin Hannah and Amy Lanighan.

It may have helped that Newfane had a significant amount of spots to fill in its lineup after graduating much of its team last year.

Continue reading "More from cross country " »

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About Prep Talk

Keith McShea

Keith McShea

Keith McShea has covered high school sports at The News since his hiring in 1999. The 1995 University at Buffalo graduate and Long Island native (North Babylon Bulldogs) covers — and live blogs — everything from scrimmages to state championships & helps head The News' All-Western New York selections.

@KeithMcSheaBN |