Lockport High School boys volleyball team captures the school's first-ever Section VI spiking championship
By John D'Onofrio Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
The Lockport Lions didn’t simply win their first Section VI Class A boys volleyball championship Wednesday night, they ripped it out of destiny’s hands.
The best large school team in Western New York on paper made it official and then some, steam-rolling Frontier in straight sets to claim the school’s first ever sectional volleyball championship. The scores made the match seem closer than it actually was, 25-21, 25-18, 25-21.
LHS junior Brad Schneider led the blue and gold with an outstanding title match performance that included 11 kills, 2 blocks and a trademark spiking ace.
“We played such a great match. I’m proud of everybody on this team. There’s no words to describe how happy I am,” Schneider said.
“It’s surreal,” exclaimed Lions senior Shawn Moore, after playing perhaps the best match of his career with 3 kills and 6 blocks. “I’m a senior and it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
“I’m speechless,” added towering junior Jason Donorovich, who added 6 kills and 2 blocks. “Our team just plays so well together.”
With their decisive win over the Falcons, the Lions advance to the state’s Far West Regionals at 4 p.m. Saturday in Clifton Springs. Lockport (25-3) will play the Section V (Rochester-area) champion, which will be the winner of tonight’s McQuaid versus Fairport match at Webster-Schroeder High School.
The winner of Saturday’s Far West Regionals match at Midlakes High School advances to the state’s Final Four.
“It feels awesome,” said a jubilant LHS head coach Joe Whalen. “I thought they played as good a game as they played against Clarence in the semis. They played intensely. I was very pleased with Shawn’s game. He had a great night blocking the ball. And Eamon Yates and Bryce Perry played the back well and took some hard hits. They showed why they’re the champions tonight.”
Trailing 2-1 in the first set, Donorovich went to the rafters to spike a shot home and the Lions, with senior setter Jack Whalen lobbing perfect passes, led the rest of the way. Late in the first game, Perry made a diving save that led to a Lockport point. Moments later, Schneider spiked one home with an exclamation point and the first game went to the Lions, 25-21.
The Lions trailed early in game two as well, but a Schneider kill and a great double block by Schneider and Murray brought LHS back. A Moore kill followed by a Moore block put Lockport out in front for good. Donorovich slammed a few kills home, then blocks by Moore and Schneider sealed it as LHS coasted in the second game, 25-18.
With a bus load of LHS fans in attendance screaming, “Let’s go Lockport” repeatedly, the Lions jumped out to a quick lead in the third game and coasted. Two Schneider kills, one by Jonah Ribbeck and another by Moore took the wind out of Frontier’s sails.
The end was a formality by then. Donorovich went up strong by the net and blocked a spiking attempt by the Falcons. The ball went off Jason’s arm and sailed down over the net and on the floor for the game-winning point as the Lions leapt off their bench to celebrate the historic victory.
“They were pretty good, but we’ve played a lot of bigger, better teams this year,” Perry said. “Once we get on our runs, it’s a wrap. We played an all-around great game tonight.”
Added senior Brad Wroblewski, “I can’t even describe how good it feels to win the section. We broke them down. We played a great match.”
GAME NOTES — Among those attending the match were Lockport Athletics Director Patrick M. Burke, Lions statistician John Isherwood; LHS softball coach Julie Kwoka and LHS assistant principal and assistant lacrosse coach Todd Sukdolak ... LHS athletic teams were also well represented. Among dozens attending included football players Tyler Fraass and David “Double D” DiTullio, boys soccer keeper Bailey Reid; Lady Lions volleyball player and basketball star Alyssa Wagner; and outstanding golfer J.J. Napoli.