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Falconer Sweeps Its Way To 2010 Title

Falconer won the 2010 Section VI Class C volleyball title with a sweep of Gowanda. P-J file photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: In another edition of the “Remember When” series, the 2010 state champion Falconer volleyball team is featured. Throughout this week, The Post-Journal will be running the Golden Falcons’ final four playoff victories, including its state title contest. Today we begin with the Section VI Class C championship match.

ANGOLA — In their third meeting of the season, the No. 1 Falconer Lady Golden Falcons used their strong offense to defeat the Gowanda Lady Panthers in three games to take the Section VI Class C girls volleyball title on Monday night at Lake Shore High School.

“This is all for the girls,” Falconer coach Darin Kennedy said. “It’s theirs.”

After the Lady Panthers scored the first point of the match, the Lady Golden Falcons answered with eight straight points and created a lead Gowanda would not overcome.

With Falconer ahead 17-13, the Lady Golden Falcons scored six points in a row for a 23-13 advantage. The Lady Panthers fought their way back with a five-point rally of their own, but they could not stop Falconer from taking the first game, 25-20.

Falconer won the 2010 Section VI Class C volleyball title with a sweep of Gowanda. P-J file photo

In the second game, Gowanda came out hungry and took its first lead since the first point of the match, 11-9. However, after a timeout, Falconer rattled off five unanswered points to once again regain the lead, 14-11.

The Lady Panthers scored an ace, recorded a kill and were given two points by the Lady Golden Falcons via serves into the net, among other things, to tie it at 16-all. Then Gowanda rallied to a 20-17 lead before Falconer came back to tie the game at 21-all.

Gowanda had its best chance to win a game, up 24-21 after two points from Taylor Johnson. But the Lady Panthers could not find that winning point and the Lady Golden Falcons scored five straight to win game two 26-24.

“My hat’s off to Gowanda, Kennedy said. “They played well. We knew Gowanda was good. You never want to play a team three times.”

Gowanda was not about to let Falconer win without a fight, however, and game three found them fighting all the way.

Down 6-3, the Lady Panthers found a rhythm and took the lead, 11-10, and again, 15-14, before the Lady Golden Falcons took the momentum with five straight points to go ahead 19-15. That was a lead which they would not relinquish. Falconer won the game, 25-20, on a kill to take the match.

“At this point, the talent becomes equal and the difference is teamwork,” said Kennedy, who has taken his team to the championship game 10 times only to lose to Eden seven times and City Honors twice. “I think all the kids finally realized it takes all of us, even those on the sidelines.”

Throughout the match, Gowanda had no answer for the powerful spikes from Falconer’s Ashley Gunnell, 21, and Corri Hannon, nine.

“We knew they were a strong offensive team,” Gowanda coach Lindsey Brown said. “Our concern was our side of the net. We wanted to play our scrappy game. Unfortunately, our attack wasn’t there and that’s what we needed.

“I think we just lacked consistency,” she added. “We did things effectively, just not consistently.”

Standing out for Gowanda were captains Shenielle Logan and Taylor Edington.

“I think they both stepped it up,” Brown said. “They’re both seniors, so I know they wanted it. I think they both left it all on the court. They contributed a lot of great, positive things to the team.”

For Falconer, Ashley Gunnell and Leslie Bianco helped lead their team to victory.

“In a time of need, that was my setter to go to,” Kennedy said of Ashley Gunnell.

About Bianco, he said, “She served awesome. She had great jump float serves for us.”

Ashley Gunnell added eight digs and a block to her kill total while Cherise Gunnell had 21 assists and five kills.

Up next for Falconer is a Far West Regional on Saturday at Genesee Community College where it will take on the winner of the Section V championship game.

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