Randolph Takes Battle Of Unbeatens In Panama
PANAMA — A pair of Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association girls volleyball division leaders squared off at Panama Central School on Friday evening, but it was the visiting Randolph Cardinals who remained unbeaten after a 25-12, 25-19, 25-18 sweep of the host Panthers in nonleague action.
Eliza Hind got Randolph off on the right foot with a strong string at the service line that turned the first set in the Cardinals’ favor and senior Eve Adams put the match away with an overpowering third set as Randolph improved to 7-0 overall to go along with its 6-0 record in East Division matches.
“I’m happy with my girls,” Randolph head coach Bayley Johnson said. “One thing we’ve been really focusing on is working together as a team. They did that tonight and I’m very proud of them for keeping that momentum.”
Adams finished with 20 kills, two aces and 11 digs; junior Donnilynn Sheldon had 10 kills, two aces and two blocks; and Hind handed out 36 assists to go along with four aces and eight digs for the Cardinals.
“There is probably pressure, but we have conversations every day. Her team believes in her,” Johnson said of Hind. “They respect her and she’s doing what she needs to do.”
Randolph led the first set 9-7 before a kill from Adams gave service to Hind. The freshman strung together four straight points with a pair of aces to quickly give the Cardinals a 14-7 lead.
“She’s an amazing server,” Panama head coach Tammy Hosier said of Hind. “She was putting it everywhere.”
Panama spent timeouts trailing 15-8 and 22-12, but was unable to stem the tide as Sheldon put the set away with back-to-back kills.
“Donnilynn has done a great job defensively with her blocking on top of hitting the ball,” Johnson said. “She’s been a great player this season so far.”
Adams served Randolph to a 4-0 lead in the second set only to see the Panthers tie it several times, and eventually take a 15-14 lead. Another Hind ace gave the Cardinals a 16-15 lead and an Adams spike sent Panama into a timeout trailing 18-15.
“She’s an all-around player hitting from all angles,” Hosier said of Adams. “We had some different things in place, but it’s hard to stop her. There are some things that are just going to beat your defense.”
Coming out of the timeout, senior Allie Conley played a hand in three of Randolph’s final seven points and the Cardinals won on another of Sheldon’s kills.
The third set was the most competitive of the night for Panama, which led as late as 13-12, but three straight service errors allowed the Cardinals to reclaim the lead and extend it to 20-16.
“We were missing serves at key times. It’s crucial. We have a rule if the person in front of you misses their first serve, you don’t miss your first serve,” Hosier said. ” … We had three straight misses. They should’ve been hitting a safe serve.”
Hind then served up another ace to make it 21-16, an Adams kill made it 22-18, an Adams ace made it 24-18 and Randolph won the set and the match when a ball from the Panthers’ back row ended up in the net.
“Eve is a leader on the court. She knows when she wants to finish a match,” Johnson said. “She’s determined and can handle the pressure. She plays phenomenal defense on top of her offense.”
Senior Sarah Harvey had four kills and 11 digs for Panama while junior Kaitlyn Horton also had four kills.
“Their defense is amazing,” Hosier said. “We were trying to find their open spots, but you get to those opens spots and they’re covering it.”
“I wanted to get them out of system,” Johnson said, “especially when Sarah Harvey was up front.”
Panama will return to Division 2 West play next week with a match at Brocton on Monday before visiting second-place Chautauqua Lake on Wednesday.
“They’re a great team all around. It was great volleyball,” Hosier said of the Cardinals. “Could we have played better? Absolutely.”
Randolph, which has cruised through East Division play with five sweeps in six matches, will host league foe North Collins on Monday before traveling to perennial power Eden on Tuesday for a nonleague matchup.
“Panama is a great program coached by a great coach, the same with Eden,” Johnson said. “Those are the ones I enjoy playing because it makes our players better.”
NOTES: Conley had seven kills and five digs; junior Avery Morrison had eight digs; and senior Kameron Luce had five digs for Randolph. … Senior Kylie Morgan had three kills and two blocks; sophomore Kiera Loberg had eight digs and 11 assists; senior Corinne Hovey had 14 digs and two aces; and senior Kylie Range had three digs and three kills for Panama, which has been without senior outside hitter Sharayah Fuller since Sept. 6 due to an injury.