ONEIDA HAS THE LAST WORD INDIANS CLASS B VOLLEYBALL CHAMPS
Oneida Class B 2013 Section 3 Volleyball Champs!
In the Section III Class B Championship match it was the number one seeded Oneida Indians (15-3) edging out the Living Word Academy Lions (5-7), 3-2 in a hard fought, exciting volleyball showdown. This was Oneida’s first appearance in the sectional finals since 2008 and the first under second year head coach Rik Ano.
Despite the excitement and enthusiasm of playing for the school’s first sectional title in over five years, the Oneida Indians community had heavy hearts on Thursday night as the team along with the Oneida community learned that they had lost one of their own on Thursday morning.
Andreas Vogelsberger, a former exchange student from Austria and a prior teammate on the volleyball team, lost his battle with cancer and was on the mind of players, parents, coaches and administrators at the school.
After learning of the news of Vogelsberger’s death earlier in the day, the players dedicated the sectional match to their friend and honored him by writing his number six on their hands.
In the first match the Oneida Indians came out with a fire that could not be matched by Living Word Academy and it seemed the Indians were operating on pure adrenalin and emotion.
Oneida quickly picked up a 5-1 lead, but never allowed the Lions from Living Word to settle in and get close.
The Indians never looked back and continued to pour it on, never allowing the Lions to capture a lead. After compiling an 18-11 lead the Indians went on a 7-2 run to finish off the set and take a 1-0 advantage.
The second set was a complete role reversal as the Living Word team was regrouped while Oneida seemed flat and tired from their fiery start. This time it was Living Word who got on the board first and never looked back.
With the exception of four ties in the set which occurred early, the last when it was 6-6, the Tigers brought the pressure and were sitting on a 17-9 lead at one point.
The Indians were able to get the lead down to six once, but that would be as close as it would get as the Tigers picked up a 25-17 set win and tied the match at 1-1.
The third set was played very close and very tight and featured a total of nine ties and lead changes and twelve occurrences where the opponent held just a one point advantage.
Leading 10-9, the Indians saw their lead vanish when the Tigers began to roar and found themselves holding a 16-11 lead when they were finished and never turned back. The Tigers allowed only two more points and took the 2-1 lead after the 25-18 set win.
The number one seed Oneida was staring elimination in the face down 2 games to 1 and looked to rebound in game four. The Indians defense came out prepared and with a bounce in their step again, and this time used it to secure a 10-3 lead.
The momentum in each of the sets seemed to switch from set to set and in this bout it was all Oneida. The Indians allowed the Tigers to tie the game 2-2 and that was it – it was all Oneida after that.
The Indians were never down again in the frame and it was close only after Oneida took a 3-2 lead, but what followed were leads ranging from four to as high as ten when Oneida led 23-10. The set ended with Oneida winning 25-18 and sending the championship to the final match.
With both teams aware that a sectional title was on the both sides they seemed to settle down and seemed to put their emotions aside and harness every bit of energy that they had left.
Both teams battled for the right to be called sectional champion. It was a shame that one would have to go home. With four ties in the match and the biggest lead reaching six, twice when Oneida led 13-7 and then later 23-17, this one was destined to go down to the final serve.
The teams traded leads before they knotted it up at 6-6 and Oneida unleashed a five point assault and boosted its lead to 11-6 and looked to pull away.
Living Word lingered and hung around looking to start a rally and they slowly chipped away at the Oneida lead before it was 17-15 Oneida.
Oneida was able to pad its lead to 23-17 but Living Word had more left in the tank and pulled to within two at 24-22. However, thanks to Oneida sophomore Derek Connelly, who was able to send a ball soaring over the Living Word players, Oneida secured the final point and won the set 25-22 and the Indians were Section 3 Champions.
The win gives the Oneida Indians its sixth sectional title and a chance to play Section II champion Ichabod Crane (18-1) in a regional crossover match at 3 p.m. Saturday at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School.
Oneida was led by Senior Jessie Morrison with 20 kills, 1 block, 2 aces and 3 digs; junior David Kahn with 21 kills, 1 block, 4 aces and 12 digs; senior Tyler Colvin 3 kills, 1 block, 1 ace, 5 assists and 3 digs; junior Kyle George 4 ace and 3 digs; senior Dylan Dibble 2 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace and 5 digs; sophomore Derek Connelly with 8 kills and 12 digs; junior Zach Brown with 2 kills, 1 block and 2 digs; and junior Dan Keck with 10 digs.
Living Word Academy was led by junior Dan Mead with 21 assists and 1 block; senior Robert Decker with 8 kills and 2 blocks; junior Sean Meyer with 3 assists, 11 kills and 7 blocks; junior Forrest Thompson with 9 kills and 8 blocks; senior Jesse Mazur with 7 assists and 1 block and junior Jonah Geremia with 6 kills.
Following the game a clearly emotional Oneida Coach Rik Ano said, “We knew coming in we may have some rust. We played scrimmages in practice this week to stay loose and the scrimmage squad played us tough and prepared us for today. The team was fired up and very emotional after hearing about the loss of one of our own. We had some errors throughout, but I told the team we just have to clean them up, and we did.” The coach added that he was proud of his kids “because of the character they showed. Coming into the program last year, my first year, I told the kids to learn with me. I said let’s learn together, and here we are sectional champions.”
Oneida Junior David Kahn had this reaction, “ Both teams played hard. We played them twice before so we knew they wouldn’t quit but we knew what we were here for. There is a lot of emotion surrounding this game. I am speechless.”
Senior Tyler Colvin spoke of coming out strong and then letting Living Word get back in the game. “They bounce back. They always do. We were fired up for the first match and came out with a lot of energy. We may have even tired ourselves out, but we kept pushing and never gave up.”
Senior Jesse Morrison added, “We played for our lost friend today. He had a great spirit and never gave up so, we couldn’t either. We just kept feeding off of every play.”
Meanwhile, for the number three seeded Living Word Academy, despite not being able to pull another upset after taking down the number two seeded Vernon-Verona-Sherrill on Tuesday night – they have a lot to be proud of.
The Academy touts one of the best and most successful boys and girls volleyball programs in the state. The boy’s varsity team has won five Section III Championships out of the last seven and has been in the section III finals for the last 18 consecutive years representing either class B or C.
What is even more remarkable is that the school is able to provide this while boasting an enrollment of 53 students. That includes K-12 and playing all of their games on the road due to their small gym.
The Living Word Academy head coach Joe Reitz has been to the sectional finals in each of his 18 seasons at the helm and picked up his 213th victory against VVS.
Coach Reitz said after the game, “We have played these guys several times and they played exactly how we thought. They were hungry. They haven’t been in the finals in a few years.”
Coach Reitz spoke of how he was proud of his kids and the support that the Christian community has for each other at Living Word Academy. He added that the entire community made the trip to cheer on the team including the Pastor at Living Word. “It’s amazing to be a part of a Christian focused group and see what we can do with 18 straight appearances in the sectional finals. This is a win for us and for our kids.
Reitz mentioned “The Academy uses sports to teach kids how to handle pressure and face adversity and still come out on top. In the end I told the kids, this is too much fun!”
1 2 3 4 5 F
Oneida 25 17 18 25 25 3
Living Word 13 25 25 18 22 2