DOLGEVILLE, NY – Little Falls senior Abby Mosher has been around volleyball since she was a little girl, and she has only one person to thank for that: her mother.
“She put a ball in my hands when I was young, and then [the Caroga Lake Volleyball Club] really got me going,” Mosher said of her mother, who used to coach volleyball herself.
All of that contributes to the senior’s powerful serves and spikes, and all of that was on display Monday night in Dolgeville. Mosher put together six aces and 19 kills, both leading the team, as the Mounties came back from a one-set deficit to get a 3-1 victory. In a losing effort, Dolgeville senior Lauren George had six kills, seven assists and nine digs for the Blue Devils.
“It was a battle tonight,” Little Falls head coach Joe Loiacono said. “Both teams kept battling all night. Dolgeville served tough, but we hung in there.”
That was certainly true in the first set, as the Blue Devils came out firing right out of warm-ups. Junior Samantha Hoke started out the scoring, picking up an ace in her four-point streak. Sophomore Emma Bilinski would help extend the lead to 5-1 early on in the first set, along with another ace by senior Frankie Jenison.
Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, that was about the point they began to hit it just a little long. That helped the Mounties, led by server Kylie Miles, to bring it back to a one-point deficit at 12-11. From there, it was a back-and-forth set, with neither team getting more than a three-point lead. However, the Mounties would pick up their first lead soon after on the serves of sophomore Grace Bergeron and Mosher, who would pick up two aces herself after a short Dolgeville rally. That led Blue Devils’ head coach Barb Allen to call a quick timeout, down 22-19 after yet another ace, this time from junior Camber Barnett.
After the timeout, Dolgeville finally got hot. After getting the ball back on a Mounties unforced error, senior Bobbie-Lee Hall went right to work. She would serve the final five points in dominating fashion to bring the Blue Devils back from a 22-20 deficit and give them the first set. Unfortunately, that was all Hall would be able to do, as she left the game in the third set due to injury.
“Bobbie getting hurt took the wind out of our sails,” Allen said of the senior, who left the game with injured ribs after a collision with her teammates. “It hurt us big…she’s our Energizer Bunny.”
In the second set, Dolgeville jumped out in front again, led by Bilinski serving in the back, while Jenison blocked every ball hit her direction in the front. They, along with senior Lauren George, put together two four-point rallies early on, forcing Loiacono to take a timeout of his own. It didn’t get much better from there though, as a couple of one-and-done rallies allowed the Blue Devils to take a 12-6 lead.
The game would swing the Mounties’ way rather quickly, as six straight points by Miles and junior Miranda Hubbell allowed Little Falls to get right back in the game. Finally, Mosher found her stroke as well, rocketing balls all over the court to help the Mounties outscore Dolgeville 19-9 late. The senior would contribute with her serve as well, getting six straight points to put the second set in the win column, 25-21.
“We struggled at first,” Mosher said. “We had yesterday off, but we got the momentum going in the second set.”
“You need runs like that,” Loiacono said. “It’s a game of momentum, and when you have that, it carries you through the game.”
The third set started much like the first: back-and-forth, with neither team able to get an advantage. Luckily for the Mounties, Hubbell was able to put together another four-point streak to give the Mounties a 5 point lead early on. A three-point streak by Bilinski cut the lead to three, but the Blue Devils couldn’t get that close for a while, thanks to Mosher and Bergeron keeping close balls away from the back row.
The Mounties were able to take the lead and keep it late into the set, thanks to a questionable call from the chair referee. According to the officials, a play at the net was never touched by the Mounties’ front row, giving the Blue Devils four hits and sending most of the partisan crowd into a frenzy. Jenison, however, maintained her cool, tying up the score at 24 with a 3-point rally. Then, after a long rally by both teams that saw nearly 20 hits and almost two minutes, Mosher finally caught the Blue Devils napping, slamming the final point home to give the Mounties the third set.
Miles would start the fourth and deciding set on the right foot for Little Falls, putting together another 3-0 run to give the Mounties the early lead. Another three three-point streaks, this time by Hubbell (who had two of them) and Barnett would finally wear out the Blue Devils, extending the lead to 22-9 at one point near the end of the game. From there, the Mounties relied on Mosher’s power from all sides of the court, as she slammed balls all over the Blue Devils to finally put it away and give the Mounties their 16th straight win.
“[Mosher] caught fire at the end,” Loiacono said of the senior’s game tonight. “I could have yelled at her early on, but she came on near the end. We’ve had consistency all season. We’ve had consistent serving, and put the pressure on them.”
“We were primed and ready to give it our all tonight,” Allen said of her team’s performance. “Little Falls started playing more error-free.”
For Mosher, who has seen the Blue Devils romp all over the Center State Conference for most of her high school career, ending it with a sweep of Dolgeville was a great feeling.
“Playing hard against Dolgeville is always a win,” Mosher said. “Dolgeville gave us a tough game tonight. Our program has improved phenomenally. It’s been so good that we were able to keep pushing.”
For Loiacono, who is seeing his 50th and final season wind down, the wins (of which there are over 400 of them) don’t really matter at this point. “All that matters is that we’re 16-0 right now,” Loiacono said. “You don’t go this far and undefeated for nothing…these kids did a good job all season.”
Little Falls Mounties 3, Dolgeville Blue Devils 1
Mounties 22 25 26 25
Blue Devils 25 21 24 12
Little Falls Mounties
Abigail Mosher: 6 aces, 19 kills, 3 assists, 6 digs.
Abby Slabe: 2 aces, 5 kills, 3 digs.
Camber Barnett: 1 ace, 6 kills, 4 digs.
Emma Rasch: 3 digs.
Kylie Miles: 3 aces, 2 kills, 29 assists, 5 digs.
Mackenzie Harrington: 4 kills.
Miranda Hubbell: 1 ace, 4 kills.
Grace Bergeron: 5 kills, 2 digs.
Dolgeville Blue Devils
Emma Bilinski: 2 aces, 1 kill, 16 digs.
Hannah Chorlton: 6 kills, 3 blocks, 3 digs.
Paige Crum: 1 dig.
Olivia Davies: 5 digs.
Lauren George: 2 aces, 6 kills, 7 assists, 9 digs.
Jazzlyn Grassel: 1 dig.
Bobbie-Lee Hall: 1 ace, 3 kills, 12 digs.
Samantha Hoke: 3 aces, 1 kill, 1 assist, 8 digs.
Frankie Jenison: 1 ace, 7 kills, 3 blocks, 9 digs.
Breanna Potts: 3 digs.
Kinsey Randall: 1 ace, 2 kills, 9 assists, 6 digs.
JV Score: Dolgeville 2, Little Falls 0 (25-21, 25-15).
Records: Little Falls 16-0, 9-0 CSC-II, Dolgeville 11-3, 6-3 CSC-II.