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   By John Addyman
Lyons' senior Ryenn Smith (right) is about to make a kill as
HAC's Savanna Atwal tries to make the block. Lion Abbie
Shields watches for the ball to cross the net.   
   LYONS, NY (Oct 5 12) -- Ryenn Smith, the lone senior on the Lions' squad, smashed 17 kills, scooped 10 digs and fired three service aces as Lyons crushed Hartley-Allendale-Columbia in three straight games to win a  match against another likely contender for the Section V crown.
   "HAC won the Sectionals last year, that's why we scheduled them," said Lyons head coach Matt Barr. "They are perennially very good. We also scheduled South Seneca/Romulus because they're good and pretty big. We play each in a home-and-away series."
   The first time the Lions met HAC this fall, the Wolves got a big start and extended Lyons to five games before succumbing.
   Barr said the Wolves had a 24-12 lead in the first game that night on the HAC floor. "We got shellshocked a bit, then we started hitting and defending. Tonight, just the opposite happened. We were ahead 6-1 in the first game and they never really got moving against us, and we started rolling."
Lyons' Hannah Lester pokes the ball over the net against
HAC's Savanna Atwal (6) and Erin Ambroski (4). 
   Although Lyons had a big lead initially in that first game, the Wolves came back to get things tight at 11-10. Abbie Shields then took the ball for Lyons, and suddenly the score was 17-10 behind her strong service. With a 21-13 lead, the Lions rolled off four quick points to finish off HAC in the first game, Teoanna Jenkins getting two kils, Shields getting one, and Smith contributing a service ace.
DIG -- Lyons libero Javana Salone dusts the floor with her
knees to keep the ball alive in the third game against HAC.
   HAC got the first point in the second game but didn't score again until Lyons had a 6-1 lead. The Wolves kept this game close and traded points with Lyons, but never got ahead. With the score 19-16, the Wolves suffered a service fault, Lyons' Taylor DiSanto made a kill, then Smith fired a bullet across the net again. With Lyons ahead 24-17, Smith hit a shot that rattled off a coupe of Wolves before dying in the net and the Lions had game two.
   Lyons took a 6-0 lead in the third game, then the Wolves and Lions swapped points until HAC, for the first time on tonight, eliminated a deficit and managed to tie the score -- at 11.
   From that point on, Lyons put two points on the board for every point the Wolves gathered. Quickly it was 18-13, then 22-17, behind the strong service of Shields and Mackenzy Congdon. The game ended 25-18.
   Smith, with her 17 kills, repeatedly chose a change of pace on what she sent over the net -- sometimes her shot was aimed and light as a leaf falling on the floor, other times she clubbed a Howitzer that even the crowd reacted to. At 5-7, she wasn't the tallest player on the floor by a bunch, but her kills were demonstrative.
LOOKING BACK toward the server are Lyons players
Teoanna Jenkins, Taylor DiSanto and Ryenn Smith. 
   "I hit the ball at the highest point," she explained. "I flick the wrist."
   He coach had a different take on it.
   "She plays very well," said Barr. "Her footwork is very good. She's been around the game at this level for five years. She takes a big role on her shoulder for us every night. If you play enough, you get better and better. She's been playing at a high level nine to 12 months a year for five years. Think of all the hard work she's put in -- it pays off. And her family is behind her -- they cart her to tournaments all over."
   Smith said she's looking at Saint John Fisher and the nursing program there as she thinks about college next year.
   "Great choice!" said Barr (a St. John Fisher grad himself). "Great college. I think she can help out in a college program."
   In a significant team effort for Lyons, Shields had nine kills and four digs; Lester had five kills and four blocks; Jeteria Wells had four digs and Jenkins had four kills and two blocks.
   The win bumps Lyons to 14-0 with the Sectionals two weeks away; HAC is 9-4.
   "If we can pass and serve, we're going to be very tough to beat," said Barr.


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