CHATHAM–Overcoming a slow start Monday at Chatham High, the Ichabod Crane boys volleyball team rallied to defeat the Panthers 3-1 and remain alone in first place in the Patroon Conference.
After dropping the first game 22-25 the Riders cruised to 25-17, 25-14 and 25-20 victories as they extended their lead in the league with a week and a half left to play in the regular season, moving their league record to 12-1.
The first game showed signs of what was to come, as the overall play was sloppy and filled with whistles. The score was close through much of the first game until ICC captain Alex Potts took over at the net, then at the serving line putting ICC up 20-16. After some back and forth play Chatham fought back and tied the game at 21 apiece behind three straight service points by Trevor Melanson. Then ICC called a timeout and when play resumed Chatham picked up another point, before giving one back to tie it at 22. The Riders served their chance into the net, then launched their ensuing attack long before Bruce Hamm stuffed an ICC spike attempt at the net to give Chatham the game one victory.
Game two was again close into the early teens, with both teams struggling to find consistent play. Up 14-11, the Riders subbed in Will Baumbach to serve and he responded with five straight points. Ichabod’s senior setter Tyler Jablanski began to get his timing down with Potts and they rode the 6’7″ big man to a 21-14 lead. Freshman Shane Wenz picked up two more points serving for ICC before Chatham responded with two of their own, including an ace by RJ Sardo. An ICC sideout followed by a Verbraska kill gave the Riders a 24-16. A Chatham sideout gave them hope, but their ensuing serve went into the net as the Riders took game two 25-17.
The Riders got off to a quick start in game three as Wenz and Potts combined for five early service points putting ICC up 8-3. The Panthers, trying to slow down the Rider attack, found themselves getting whistled for being in the net a lot, as they gave away points and fell further behind. Chatham fought back behind more service points by Melanson before they were again whistled for being in the net, putting the Riders up 12-10. Baumbach stepped in to serve for ICC and, with Potts dominating at the net, rattled off four points. A combination of Derrick Fenoff and Wenz serving helped the Riders take a 2-1 lead.
The final game was tight, but ICC held a slim lead throughout the contest. Potts, Fenoff and Verbraska each played well at the net, helping to keep ICC out in front. Down 24-19, Sardo pulled Chatham to within four with a service point, but Potts slammed the door shut with a big kill.
Potts finished the game with 33 kills, 12 service points and 3 blocks to lead the way for ICC. Jablanski racked up 53 assists in the win, while Verbraska played perhaps his best game of the year finishing with 17 kills. Fenoff added 7 kills, Wenz had 11 service points and Baumbach added 10 service points.
Stats for Chatham were not available, but Melanson served and set well for the Panthers in the loss. Adam Taylor was pivotal to Chatham’s defense with some great passing, while RJ Sardo played scrappy defense and Bruce Hamm played well at the net.