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Conversation with City Honors girls volleyball captains on return of coach Matos

By Keith McShea

I spoke with City Honors girls volleyball senior captains Sade Hellams, Tyler Carpenter and Ashley O'Hanrahan following the Centaurs' three-game sweep of East Wednesday evening.

It was the first league match that Honors 18-year coach Deborah Matos coached since being reinstated after being placed on administrative leave.

What are your thoughts on having coach Matos back?  

Sade: "We’re just happy that she’s back. We’re like a family, and it’s almost like our family is back together, just the way it’s supposed to be. We’re all united again."

Tyler: "Without her, it was kind of hard, but we knew that we had to push thorugh it, and as captains we had to step up. Having her back is really a great thing."

Ashley: "It’s a lot smoother. I had to help our JV coach coach the team because she didn’t know rotations and stuff like that. With her back, it just run a lot smoother and easier. We all feel more comfortable as a whole."

What was it like during her absence?

Continue reading "Conversation with City Honors girls volleyball captains on return of coach Matos" »

Live from the Class C girls volleyball state championship: Eden sweeps to third straight title (with video)

Eden won its ninth state title, the most in state history. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Greetings from the Glens Falls Civic Center for the state volleyball championships as Eden goes for its third straight state title. It won the last two years in Class B.

Randolph fell in the Class D final this morning.

Here's video of the opening ceremonies:

After today's volleyball action, the fall season is down to two football teams with Orchard Park (Class AA) and Southwestern (C) playing in next Sunday's state championships at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. 

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/highschools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

'Man Up' car show Saturday honors Redenbach

A "Man Up" Car Show will be held Saturday in memory of Meghan Redenbach.

Redenbach was a standout Roy-Hart volleyball player who inspired so many before passing away due to cancer last Christmas Eve. Here is the web version of the story I wrote about Meghan for the Christmas Eve day paper.

The car show will be held at the East Amherst Fire Company, 9100 Transit Road, East Amherst, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with all proceeds going to the "Man Up" Memorial Award, Carly's Club and Make-A-Wish of Western New York.

There will be basket raffles, Chinese auction, 50/50 drawings, food and music.

Check this link for more information about registering for the car show.

---Keith McShea

(@KeithMcSheaBN on Twitter)

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Eden's volleyball captain pays tribute to her coach

Here is the complete letter sent by Eden senior girls volleyball player and captain Heather Feldman to PrepVolleyball.com in support of her coach, Stephen Pierce.

Pierce was named the website's co-National Coach of the Year, which I wrote about in the Prep Talk column in Tuesday's Scholastic Spotlight.

Here's an A-plus of a letter of support:

"Mr. Pierce has been coaching at Eden for a very long time. In that span, he has made Eden the premier girls’ volleyball program in the state. His teams have been ranked first in the state for countless years, and he has won seven state titles as a head coach, the most of any coach in New York State girls’ volleyball history. With his seventh title as a head coach this past season, he passed the legendary coach Sally Kus of Sweet Home as the winningest head coach in the state.

“This past August, when looking towards the fall season, I was worried. As a program, we lost the best senior class in Eden's history, with four fantastic players graduating: Hannah Herc (Kent State), Hailee Herc (Stony Brook), Stacey Smith (Georgia), and Katie Eschner (Roberts Wesleyan). These All-Western New York players were the cream of the crop. They not only brought high-level play to the team, they brought leadership and big game experience that was hard to match. All four had played in extremely high-pressure situations, from a Game 5 in the state finals to a match with an Open bid on the line. You can't teach that; it comes with playing a long time. And in a school like Eden, which graduates approximately 140 students per grade level, we don't have the biggest talent pool to pull from.

Continue reading "Eden's volleyball captain pays tribute to her coach" »

Live from the Class C & D girls volleyball state championships: Falconer, Randolph take titles home to Southern Tier (with video)

Class C state champs on the left, Class D state champs on the right. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

Hello from the Glens Falls Civic Center and the Class C and D finals, both of which were scheduled to start at 2 p.m. but will get under way much later as the schedule has been pushed back a bit. Falconer is in the Class C match, Randolph in Class D.

We'll see if they can repeat Eden's feat of winning a state title in Class B.

It should be interesting to update two matches at once, but we're going to try.

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State championship banner is now on order. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)

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Following the match, provide your input in the comments section.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from the Class B girls volleyball state championship: Eden sweeps I-Hendrick Hudson for eighth title (with video)

A familiar pose for Eden girls volleyball. (Keith McShea/Buffalo News)



Hello from the Glens Falls Civic Center, where I'm making my second annual appearance on Championship Sunday as three teams have made state championship matches for the second straight year.

First up is the marquee matchup of defending state champion Eden, winners of a record seven titles, taking on Hendrick Hudson of Section I (Westchester County). These programs have met in the last three title matches. They split their two games during Saturday's pool play, so it should be quite a match.

Follow along live in the window below.

* * *

Here are the winning points for Eden:

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Here's a taste of the environment here as the teams walked in for the opening ceremonies of the second session. The match was scheduled for noon but a lengthy Class AA final (won by Baldwinsville of Section III over Section V's Webster Schroeder) pushed it back to about 12:45 p.m.

Following the match, provide your input in the comments section.

I'll be adding a separate post for the Class C and D finals, both of which start at 2 p.m. Falconer is in the Class C match, Randolph in Class D.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/high-schools     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

ESG video: Great wrapup and some clips

Check out a cool wrapup video by News Reporter Denise Jewell Gee.

After that, watch a few clips from a very busy -- which is why I haven't been able to get them up until now -- and very successful return of the Empire State Games in Western New York.

We'll start with the best one, a killer kill by Frontier's Rachel Stoklosa to close out the women's scholastic volleyball team's come-from-behind victory over Long Island. 

Here's another highlight from the same team -- except this is the chant I wrote about in my story.

It's become such a tradition for Western volleyball that before the men's open team took to the court for their late final Saturday night, one member of team yelled over, "Hey, girls scholastic! Come over here and do your thing!"

Here's the final point of the women's open team's win.

Here's the final out of the softball team's gold-medal game victory.

Here's the final out of the softball team's win over Hudson Valley on Friday morning.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

ESG Day Three: Western softball, girls hockey win gold; golden sweep for volleyball

Hello from Day Three of the Empire State Games, where I'll keep you updated with some action early in the day along with my travels.

12:50 p.m. Western softball will play Long Island for the gold -- but the game has been moved up from 3 p.m. to 1:30 at the Audubon Recreation Complex due to poor weather forecast for this evening.

In baseball, the games have been moved up as well. The bronze medal game will start immediately after the 1 p.m. game between Western and Central; with the gold medal game (originally scheduled for 7 p.m.) starting immediately after the bronze.

If Western wins, it plays for gold; if not I believe they are headed for the bronze game. 

It's a good move by Games officials because of the poor forecast later in the day, when showers are supposed to move in.

12:55 p.m. The Western women's hockey team beat Adirondack, 7-0, this morning and will playing for an undefeated round-robin record and a gold medal when it faces Long Island at 6:30 p.m. at Audubon.

Long Island is also undefeated, although it has two wins and two ties. Western is 4-0. By points, I think LI could win the gold on a tiebreaker if it beat Western because it would have beaten them head-to-head. No matter what, it should be a great finishing game.

3:34 p.m. After a lot of running around, some big news.

WESTERN SOFTBALL WINS THE GOLD MEDAL with a 3-0 victory over Long Island. Lindsay (Garbacz) Morris pitched the shutout while Michelle Fridey had a two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh for some big insurance runs. I'll have video posted soon hopefully.

Western baseball, however, will play for bronze after falling to Central, 2-1, in eight innings.

6:32 p.m. We're back after a stop in the media center and some major coordinating with our ESG team -- we're at Alumni Arena for the finales in volleyball.

7 p.m. WESTERN WOMEN'S OPEN VOLLEYBALL WINS THE GOLD, beating Central in four games. It's the first of four finals in which Western can win gold. Western won, 25-23, 22-25, 25-19, 25-14. In the fourth game, Western was just too much for a Central team that seemed to run out of gas.

7:19 p.m. Make it two-for-two for Western. MEN'S SCHOLASTIC VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD. It won the first game in a marathon but didn't have as much drama in the next two in a 30-28, 25-18, 25-20 victory over Long Island.

A report from photographer Jim McCoy, who I couldn't hear too well on the phone: Western and Long Island are tied in the final women's hockey game.

7:38 p.m. The women's scholastic final has just started as top-seeded Western takes on Long Island. The men's open final follows with Western, the second seed entering today's playoff round, meeting Adirondack.

8:10 p.m. Long Island making an early statement in the women's scholastic game. LI took the first game, 27-25, and went up, 9-1, to start the second. Only twice in the history of Games volleyball, which goes back to the first Games in 1978, has a region other than Western or Long Island won the gold, and it hasn't happened in 28 years (Hudson Valley won 1980 and 82).

8:24 p.m. The second-longest team gold-medal streak is definitely in jeopardy -- Long Island won the second game, 25-16. Western has won seven straight golds.

8:30 p.m. Word passed along from a friendly media coworker. WESTERN WOMEN'S HOCKEY HAS WON GOLD after scoring two late goals against Long Island.

8:48 p.m. Things are tightening up here -- Western wins the third game, 25-18, to cut the Long Island lead to 2-1. One important thing to note: If Long Island wins this match, there is an additional game to determine the gold because Long Island came out of the loser's bracket of today's playoffs.

9:08 p.m. Western has tied it up. Great effort to even things up at 2-2 with a 25-14 victory in which Western was in control from the start.

9:24 p.m. Western got off to a 5-1 start before the match was delayed at least five minutes, maybe 10, when Long Island protested a call. A committee was formed, a player had to sign a paper, I couldn't believe it. It was like filing an accident report with the cops. Western keeps rolling -- it is up, 10-3, in a game that will go to 15.

9:32 p.m. WESTERN WOMEN'S SCHOLASTIC VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD. The home team lived up to their sing-song-ing with a 15-10 victory in the fifth and deciding game. Quite a comeback for Western. Fun stuff to watch, as it always is here on ESG Saturday.

10:59 p.m. Back from interviews and writing my story for first edition -- without the men's open game. Talk about some serious hitting in this one. Whoa. Western won the first game, 25-21, and the second, 25-22.

11:22 p.m. WESTERN MEN'S OPEN VOLLEYBALL HAS WON GOLD after a 25-21, 25-22, 25-14 victory over Adirondack. 

The victory gives Western a sweep of the volleyball medals for the first time since it accomplished the feat in 2002. Western also won all four in 1993.

12:20 a.m. Back at the media center after redoing the end to the volleyball story. Found out that astoundingly the women's open basketball had a four-way tie for first place and that Western will play for gold after winning some sort of a mini-game. Wow.

See you tomorrow for end of the Games.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

Live from ESG Day Two: Wins for Western women in softball, soccer, field hockey and volleyball

It's Day Two of the Empire State Games, and I'll keep you updated here with my travels and any news.

Later on, Amanda Bremer will have her post going from the media center with more results, and we'll have additional posts through the day from other reporters in the field.

I won't be running around like a lunatic like I did yesterday, but I still have my work cut out for me. I'm going to try and catch up with not only Williamsville North girls hoop coach Clare Crowley, but all four of her players who are involved in the Games. The kicker is that all four are playing different sports, and none of them are playing hoops. Can't make this stuff up. 

The girls are Corrine Genovese (softball), Allie Ahern (field hockey), Jenny Piaggione (soccer) and Nikki Attea (volleyball).

9:40 a.m. There's rain coming down and I'll soon find out if any events are delayed. Based on past experience, if it remains a light rain, most, if not all, events will muddle through. Lightning is the big thing that can delay the Games. Knock on wood. 

I'm headed to field hockey first to talk to Allie Ahern of Williamsville North. They're playing a 9 a.m. game. After that I'm headed to a media fitness challenge at UB. Insert punchline here.

10:44 a.m. Western field hockey wins, 2-0, over Central to bounce back from an opening loss to always-tough Hudson Valley. 

Western got several great saves from Tara Lamberti (Pittsford) in the final minutes as Central kept pushing. Catherine Willard of Pittsford scored on an assist from Shannon Martin of Williamsville 20:31 into the first half while Williamsville's Emily Woods added a goal 24:43 into the second half. 

I talked with Allie Ahern, who is verbally committed to Michigan State, about her experience in the Games with all of here Williamsville North crew -- she said she watched Corrine Genovese play softball yesterday and was headed to volleyball to watch Nikki Attea today (I think I'll be at those games as well).

Now it's off to BlueCross BlueShield's fitness challenge. I just saw videographer extraordinare James Acton heading in so I know the competition is big-time. News Reporter Charlie Specht is also in the competition -- which I think is unfair because I think he is a decade younger than me. Here we go -- I've been typing on my laptop in the parking lot by UB Stadium, but I'm heading over. The course, which fans can participate in for prizes tomorrow) is in a field next to the lot -- you can't miss it on your drive to the track venue.

The important thing is that I'm competing for the $500 prize for charity on behalf of the Tom Borrelli Memorial Award and Scholarship Fund.

12:17 p.m. Time to catch up on a few things.

The weather report: Right now there is a very slight drizzle coming down on my car as I type in the parking lot of the Audubon Recreation Complex. The rain had stopped during my top-four fitness challenge finish and before I caught some volleyball. The skies are grey, the air is really thick, but it seems as if the clouds are moving through quite quickly so it appears that while the weather might be a bother, it shouldn't hold anything up.

I saw from a distance that there is softball action going on while Adirondack and Central were on the baseball field. 

The women's scholastic volleyball team kept rolling, although they'll be miffed that their perfect preliminary record was spoiled in the third game as Western it won two of three against Hudson Valley. Western had won all of its games Thursday (2-0 matches, 6-0 games) coming into today. It won the first two very handily, 25-26, and 25-10, but fell in the third game (which is played to 15) by a 18-16 score.

Afterwards I talked with Nikki Attea, who will be a junior at Williamsville North this fall. She said she's not surprised coach Crowley made the open team -- coach bangs away at the 6-3 Attea in the post during practice. Attea said she has been on two unofficial recruiting visits for volleyball, to Syracuse and Ohio State.

As far as that fitness challenge obstacle course, Specht came in third -- only less than a second ahead of me, so I got that going for me, which is nice. I'm disappointed my football throws just missed the target -- lost some time there, but not as much as I did maneuvering through the hockey part. Ch. 7 swept the men's and women's categories while Acton was second. Told you he was going to be tough.

The obstacle course is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday -- it's in a great spot, between the track venue and the volleyball venue on their biggest days of competition. Fans can win pretty cool prizes from the Bills and Sabres. Sponsor BlueCross BlueShield said the idea is to have everyone be able to compete at the Empire Games -- which is pretty cool. Should be something companies look at in future games. Good PR, fun for fans and it contributes to the festival-like feel of the Games.

12:25 p.m. Another weather update -- the raindrops are getting heavier, so much so that I think it could put the baseball and softball games in jeopardy of a delay.

12:38 p.m. Just got out of the car to check the status of the games as the rain has subsided. Looks like baseball will be back to action soon -- teams are on the field. I think softball may have played through it. The skies are dark enough to have the lights on at UB Stadium across the street, but there hasn't been any downpour.

1:59 p.m. Quick update: Western softball looks headed to a medal after it won its second game of the day, 7-3, over Hudson Valley. It started with a 10-0 victory over New York City, a 50-pitch, five-inning perfect game by Lindsay (Garbacz) Morris.

Morris then came on in relief after Hudson Valley scored three runs on Chelsea Plimpton to take a 3-2 lead after two. Morris took over with one out in the second and only allowed one baserunner (on a hit) the rest of the day.

Western scored twice in the second and twice again in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead. Rosie Russell served an opposite-field RBI single to left in the fifth for a 5-3 lead and Dana Carter smashed a triple over the right fielder's head to score two in the sixth.

Ashley Bonetto went 4 for 4 with a home run and six RBIs against New York City.

The rain continues its on-again, off-again act -- at the conclusion of Western's softball game about 15 minutes ago, it started coming down steadily, but by the time I made the short drive to the North French Soccer Complex it had stopped. 

2:59 p.m. Another trip to see a Will North athlete, another win. The Western women's scholastic soccer team scored all of its goals in a huge second half to beat Long Island, 4-0.

Jenny Griffin (Williamsville) and Jenna Raepple (Grand Island) each scored and had an assist, with Griffin scoring off a Raepple pass in the 50th minute for the first goal. Raepple added a goal in the 75th minute on an assist by Alexis Kroese (Amherst), Kori Thorne (Rochester) put a missile of a direct kick in the top of the net and Griffin set up Carissima Catrona (Williamsville) for the fourth goal in the 90th minute. 

In perhaps bigger news, the SUN IS OUT. All of a sudden it's a bright, hot, humid day almost just like yesterday.

I talked with Piaggione and she had some great quotes about coach Crowley, who the players seem to be comfortable calling simply "Clare."

Word from baseball is that Western lost to Long Island, 5-4, and their 4 p.m. game has been pushed back to 6 p.m. due to this morning's showers. Thanks to former Cheektowaga baseball coach Dan Kaplan, who gave me that info at the soccer game.

3:36 p.m. A quick stop in the media room to recharge (batteries and stomach) and I'm heading up to Niagara University to see the women's open team play. I'll see Crowley on the court after seeing her four players in their respective sports. 

We've got confirmation that baseball's starting time was moved to 6 p.m.

Be sure to check out Amanda Bremer's blog with updates from the media center.

Update from Marquel Slaughter, who was at soccer to round up all four games: The men's and women's open teams both beat New York City to join the women's scholastic squad at 2-0. The women won by a shootout for the second straight day after a 1-1 tie while the men won, 3-0. The men's scholastic team fell to 0-2 with a 4-1 loss to Long Island.

4:50 p.m. Man, that Grand Island bridge construction is a booger. I got here about 20 minutes ago.

But hello, finally, from Niagara University's Gallagher Center, where Western has a 34-26 halftime lead on New York City. I'm here to talk to Crowley after the game, but this is one loaded team. Some nice team play -- a staple of Bill Agronin-coached teams in the Empire Games -- has helped the hosts to a nice lead.

Rochester's Melissa Alwardt (leading scorer at U. of Rochester) had a nice swat on defense, nailed a baseline jumper and delivered a slick blind pass over her head for a basket for Marisa Clark. Bridgette Burke (Lockport) drained a three.

4:56 p.m. Start of the second half. Western starts Ashley Rath (Victor, sophomore-to-be at College of St. Rose), Megan Shoniker (Rochester, Rhode Island senior-to-be), Alyssa Fenyn (Newark, Virginia Tech sophomore-to-be), Clark (Hilton, Medaille grad and assistant coach) and Liz Flooks (Niagara senior-to-be).

5:44 p.m. We have a final score in women's open basketball: Western 90, New York City 59.

Was doing a lot of planning for tomorrow during the game; sorry about no updates. Off for interviews and back to the media center. 

6:37 p.m. Back in the media center. Lots of writing and planning for me now. Stay tuned to Amanda Bremer's blog from the media center (about five tables away from me) for updates through the evening.

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk

All-star stand

I wrote about an issue we at The News had with the ECIC all-league girls basketball teams in today's Prep Talk.

Check it out and feel free to chime in here. 

---Keith McShea

buffalonews.com/highschool     facebook.com/preptalkblog     twitter.com/bufnewspreptalk
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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 | [email protected]

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