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St. Mary’s girls volleyball too much in repeating as Monsignor Martin champions

Sophomore sensation Leah Meyer was the Most Valuable Player in St. Mary’s Monsignor Martin championship match victory. (Photo by Jeff Barnes)
It took some time for Immaculata to get over the initial nerves of playing for a Monsignor Martin championship.

But when the opponent is St. Mary’s, early nerves can spell a quick end to a match.

Western New York top-ranked small school St. Mary’s made quick work of Immaculata, winning in a three-game sweep (25-8, 25-14, 25-19) on Friday (Nov. 2) evening at St. Francis.

“It’s such a big match, so I think the nerves were a big factor. By the time we caught our wind, it was kind of late in the match,” said Immaculata head coach Kyle Shanley, whose team’s only two losses during the regular season in league play came at the hands of St. Mary’s.

It may have been a league championship match, but the Lancers continued to prove its in a league of its own. St. Mary’s continued a two-year long streak without losing a set to a fellow MMAA team.

“It just doesn’t get old; It’s a great experience every time and it’s with different girls every time. We always have so much fun with it,” said senior Amber Drzymala, whose powerful hitting game and serve helped get St. Mary’s out to a 13-1 lead in Game One.

However, Immaculata and fellow MMAA opponents are not alone in feeling the wrath of St. Mary’s. The Lancers have been doing that to teams throughout Western New York, large or small in size, coming off winning a State Catholic title last year.

Drzymala is just one of so many offensive and defensive weapons in the arsenal of the Lancers.

“It’s their depth — all of those players play on a national team or travel and club,” Shanley said of what makes St. Mary’s so good.

“That’s a school kids want to go to for volleyball. It’s a good program and they know even if they don’t play, they’re going to be on a good team.”

Immaculata settles for league runner-up for a second straight season, while St. Mary’s moves on to the state Catholic tournament the weekend of Nov. 17-18 to defend its title.

“Nothings guaranteed until the end, so we’re just trying to go there and fight as hard as we can,” Drzymala said.

“That’s all we can do.”

St. Mary’s sophomore sensation Leah Meyer was awarded the Most Valuable Player honor thanks to the lanky hitter’s contributions offensively and on the block. She also put the finishing touches on a dominant Game One with four aces during a single service run.

Immaculata began to play better in Game Two after St. Mary’s dominated the first game from start to finish. During a tighter Game Three, Immaculata got to within 14-13, but from there, St. Mary’s rolled. Junior Jacqueline Stack, another one of the Lancers’ big hitters, finished the match with a kill down the left sideline.

Looming even larger than St. Mary’s precision play and many offensive options, Drzymala believes it’s been chemistry that has pushed the team so far ahead of the field.

“The bond that we have with the girls off the court is so important,” she said. “We are all so close. I think that’s something that really carries over on to the court. We’re always talking and we know how to communicate with every one of the girls.”

Immaculata will not advance to the state championship as it did last season with a second-place finish due to state cuts that have made the tournament smaller. Now, only each diocese’s champion and the host team plays in the tournament.

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