In a rare volleyball matchup, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Batavia Blue Devils met on Batavia's home court Tuesday night as part of the school's homecoming week events. In recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the Batavia squad wore purple socks and headbands.
At first the two teams played nearly even score early on, then Notre dame pulled away to take a 17-12 lead. Batavia took a timeout and settled down, but were soon down eight points and lost by a final of 25-18.
The second set was a little different. Batavia took the lead early and went up 8-7, with the two teams swapping leads throughout the match. Batavia held on for the win 25-22.
Batavia’s Head Coach Jeremy Mettler said “I challenged them to play harder defense and more aggressive serving and they stepped it up in game two, which led us to victory."
In the third set Batavia rallied early going up 4-1 but then Notre Dame went on a hot streak scoring the next six points. Batavia took a time out. Mettler talked with his team about a few fundamentals and encouraged his players to relax and just play volleyball.
Notre Dame Head Coach Rhonda DiCasolo, with more than 40 years experience coaching, told her players to stop giving away points, get their serves over and not let the crowd get to them. Notre Dame held the lead by eight points most of the set, eventually winning 25-16.
Down two sets to one, Batavia needed a win in the fourth set and never gave in. Down by four early, they rallied and tied the score at six apiece. DiCasolo told her squad to settle down.
"Our passing had to get closer to Mary Cate so she can run the offense," DiCasolo said. "We ran a couple plays that were effective, sparked them to get back on track and started going back to the hitting. I told them to stop the tipping.
"We picked it up. They were scrappy. They were taking everything we were giving them, so I told them to go with our power hitters, Shea Norton, Becca Krenzer and Taylor DiMartino."
Notre Dame took the lead and led the middle of the set and was up 19-15 when Batavia called time out.
Mettler said Notre Dame is a good team. Mettler told his team to play hard, work hard and hit their target with their passes.
Batavia battled, but Notre Dame held the lead and eventually won 25-17 to take the night three sets to one.
"Tonight’s crowd was awesome on both schools that brought tons of kids out to support their schools," Mettler said. "It was one of the most fun games I have coached in the Batavia High gymnasium. We missed a couple crucial serves here and there in the fourth set.
"Notre Dame played well and they didn’t let up. We kept swinging at them and attacked. We didn’t give up and we fought to the end."
Tessa Engel -- 15 digs, seven kills & two aces
Taylor Stefaniak -- six digs, 12 kills & two aces
Maddie McCulley -- 10 digs, two kills & 18 assists
Courtnee Yasses -- six aces
Notre Dame's stats:
Shea Norton -- 27 kills, six digs
Mary Cate Miceli -- 28 assists, 13 digs
Rebecca Krenzer -- eight kills
Lexi Gerhardy -- nine digs, five kills
Batavia’s record is now 6-7 and the team plays its next game at home today vs. Greece Olympia. Notre Dame improves to 10-1 and plays away tomorrow at Holley.
For more photos visit to: Steve Ognibene Photography