With higher stakes on the line, the Finger Lakes Community College women’s volleyball team would compete on their home court for one last time this season after earning the #1 seed for the Mid-State Athletic Conference Championships.
Lakers vs. Genesee Community College
The Lakers opened the tournament with a match against the Genesee Community College Cougars who drew the #4 seed. In a commanding performance where the Lakers synergy was on full display, the team would secure a 3-0 sweep over the Cougars to earn a trip to the championship match.
Freshman Payton Stoddard (Bloomfield, N.Y./Bloomfield) steered the Lakers’ gameplan with precision, setting up the attack with 41 assists, while providing a strong defensive front with 10 digs. Her play set the stage for teammates Brooke DeGroff (Castile, N.Y./Letchworth) and Bridget Miller (Seneca Falls, N.Y./Mynderse) who put down 11 and 10 kills respectively. Miller’s offensive efficiency was confirmed with a .375 hitting percentage in the match; combined with 2 service aces, the freshmen’s versatility was on full display.
Classmate Kiane Wells (Webster, N.Y./Webster Thomas) and Leah Williams (Olean, N.Y./Olean) amplified the offensive pressure, contributing 7 and 10 kills, with Williams achieving an efficient .350 hitting percentage. On defense, sophomore Adriana Botello (Holley, N.Y./Holley) put her experience and leadership on display with an impressive 16 digs. Teammate Michelina Williams (Fairport, N.Y./Fairport) contributed significantly in the match, adding 2 aces and 11 digs to her tally.
Lakers vs. SUNY Broome Community College
With the win, the Lakers earned a spot in the championship game against the SUNY Broome Hornets after the opposition earned an upset over the #2 SUNY Jefferson Cannoneers, 3-0.
Despite the Hornets hot hitting, the Lakers would remain composed to clinch the 2023 Mid-State Athletic Conference Championship with a 3-0 victory over the Hornets. Sophomore Brooke DeGroff led the Lakers’ offensive onslaught, amassing 12 kills over 3 sets played, on defense, DeGroff would add 12 digs to her tally. DeGroff consistently came up big when it mattered most to keep the momentum in the Lakers’ corner. Teammate Bridget Miller remained consistent in her 2nd match of the day, complimenting DeGroff’s efforts with a 8 kill performance of her own.
Teammate Kiane Wells and Leah Williams each added to the Lakers’ dynamic attack with 8 kills apiece, with Wells hitting an impressive .500 in the match. Freshmen Michelina Williams stepped up in her second match of the day and was the backbone of the Lakers defense, finishing with 21 digs and an ace in the match. Beyond contributing 4 aces, freshmen Payton Stoddard orchestrated the Lakers’ offense with 36 assists.
Sophomore Brooke DeGroff was named Mid-State Athletic Conference Player of the Year for the second consecutive year while Head Coach Andrew Solomon was named Mid-State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. The Lakers also saw teammates Kiane Wells, Leah Williams, and Michelina Williams earn 2nd Team All-Conference selections while Payton Stoddard and Brooke DeGroff were named 1st Team All-Conference.
With the win, the Lakers extended their win streak to 16 and have now swept 15 straight opponents. In what felt like a regional atmosphere in the Putt Moore Gymnasium, the Lakers will look to carry the momentum from their performance into next weekend’s NJCAA Region III semifinal match against the #7 seeded Hudson Valley Community College Vikings. The Lakers’ match with the Vikings will kick off at 1 PM on Saturday, October 28th at Niagara County Community College.