Lockport boys volleyball Lions bow out in state FWR
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
CLIFTON SPRINGS, N.Y. —
A first-ever undefeated Niagara Frontier League championship season and the school’s first-ever Section VI volleyball championship are consolations that Lockport High School can live with.
On Saturday, Lockport’s historic boys volleyball season came to an end with a straight-set loss to Fairport in the 2013 New York State large school Far West Regional at Midlakes High School. The scores were 25-12, 25-20, 27-25.
Head coach Joe Whalen’s Lions finished 12-0 in the NFL and were 25-4 overall, earning their first Section VI Class A title last Wednesday at Hamburg High School with a straight-set win over Frontier. It’s the farthest a Lockport volleyball team has ever gone in the postseason.
Section V’s Fairport earned a FWR berth with a win over three-pete-champion McQuaid last Thursday. Head coach John O’Dell’s Red Raiders now advance to compete in the state tourney finals at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday.
The Lions can look back fondly on their many historic accomplishments.
“I was proud of them before we started, and today, they showed once again that they belonged on that court with the best in New York state,” Whalen said.
“Like I said on Friday, today was gravy on the year. I think everything they envisioned as goals they reached. They rose to the level that they were challenged to get to. They would have loved to win, but they felt they lost to a quality squad. There was still smiles on their faces when we got done. They had a great run and it was an unforgettable experience.”
Middle hitter Jason Donorovich led Lockport with 7 kills and 3 blocks. Fellow junior Brad Schneider added 6 kills for the Lions spikers. Seniors Bryce Perry and Shawn Moore added three and two kills, respectively.
“Their jump serving didn’t turn out to be as much of an issue as I thought it would be,” Whalen said. “In the first game, our front row just didn’t get good positioning. In the second game, I thought we matched up pretty well and we started to impact their game. That game was a lot closer than the score indicates.
“By the third game we really had the lead, 16-10, and moved ahead by 22-17, then we had a five-point lapse that started with perhaps a bad call — I’m not so sure about that — but we lost some concentration, we missed a few hits and before you know it, they’re back in the game.”
Donorovich, Schneider and LHS senior libero Eamon Yates were recently named NFL First Team all-stars. Following Saturday’s FWR loss, Yates was honored by the NYSPHSAA by being named to the All-State Playoff Team.
“It was a deserving honor for Eamon. He played great today,” Whalen said.