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Massena girls volleyball team completes playoff surge with Overall Section 10 title win

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CANTON - The Massena Central girls’ volleyball team completed an impressive Section 10 playoff run on Thursday, sweeping past defending champion Salmon River then downing previously undefeated Chateaugay in three straight to capture the 2012 overall championship.

“We’ve really peaked at the right time,” said coach Mary Arcadi after the Lady Raiders reeled off their third sweep in as many post-season matches. “Our offense has been pretty steady all year but we knew that our defense and our communication on the court had to get better. It all came together for us in the playoffs. I’m just so proud of this team.”

All three sectional champions will be returning to the SUNY Canton Fieldhouse on Saturday to take on their Section 2 counterparts in the opening round of the New York State tournament. The triple-header begins at noon with Salmon River taking on Vorheesville in a Class C rematch from last year. Class D champion Chateaugay then faces Hartford beginning at 2 p.m. before Massena goes up against Johnstown in the Class B encounter at 4 p.m.

Massena 3, Salmon River 0: In the semi-final match for the bid to take on Chateaugay for the overall title the Lady Raiders held on to take on the first set 25-22 before pulling away late in both the second and third to win by scores of 25-15, 25-17 with Cashlynn Jaggers coming in off the bench to close out the decisive set with seven straight service points.

Sydney Thompson served up a team-high nine points in the winning effort and had four kills along with Samanntha Villnave. Krista Loran chipped in seven service points. Janisa Benedict dominated the net for 15 kills while recorded six points. Tristan Thomas generated 18 assists out of 45 sets and notched another three kills.

“Our goal coming over here tonight was to focus on beating Salmon River first to we could have another shot at Chateaugay,” noted Arcadi after the Lady Raiders earned a chance to avenge two regular season losses to the undefeated East Division champions.

For Salmon River (13-5), Raven Oakes had a team-high seven points off her serve. Cassie Boardway tallied five points, including two aces while Nicole Smoke generated nine assists and four kills and Kasennakohe David worked the net for seven kills.

“We’ve had a bit of an up-and-down season and we were definitely down today,” noted coach Nicole Deshaies. “You could see Massena was really up for the match.”

Massena 3, Chateaugay 0: The overall championship saw the Lady Raiders outlast the Lady Bulldogs 26-24 in the opening set then build commanding leads midway through the next two before going on to win by scores of 25-19, 25-21.

Thomas anchored the winning effort with 18 assists out of 50 sets and 15 service points. Benedict, who was later named the NAC East Division MVP, tallied 10 kills and seven service points while Loran generated 14 points and two kills. The Lady Raiders also got a boost off the bench from Aryanna Jacobs, who finished with seven points and two kills filling in for Villnave after she twisted her right ankle midway through the opening set. Villnave would return to take her regular spot on the frontline through the other two sets.

“We lost two tough matches to Chateaugay during the regular season and the girls were determined not to let it happen again tonight,” said Arcadi after her squad improved to 17-3 overall.

Desiree Stumpf paced the Lady Bulldogs with 10 points, including five aces, while Carolyn Stumpf finished with nine points and five kills. Caitlin added another five kills as Chateaugay slipped to 18-1 on the season.

“It wasn’t so much that we made mistakes tonight,” said coach Chris Reynolds, “it was the way we reacted to the mistakes. We started hanging our heads and Massena fed off of that.”

POST-SEASON NOTES: OFA senior Felicia Barr was named the 2012 recipient of the Patti Baldwin Memorial Award as the outstanding all-around player in Section 10. Massena’s Janisa Benedict and Canton’s Tara Facey were the other two finalists for the award. Tupper Lake was selected for this year’s Stephanie Putney Memorial Team Sportsmanship Award. Canton’s Carla Wentworth was honored as the NAC West Division Coach of the Year while Chateaugay’s Chris Reynolds was named the NAC East Division Coach of the Year. Benedict was voted the East Division MVP while Barr was voted the West Division MVP.

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