Amsterdam’s Alyssa Kuchis (3) goes up for a kill as Gloversville’s Abbey Johnson (14) blocks during Wednesday’s match at Amsterdam High School. (Adam Shinder/Recorder staff)
By ADAM SHINDER
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM — The Amsterdam Lady Rams had five chances to put away a victory in the opening game of their Foothills Council volleyball match against Gloversville Wednesday evening. They couldn’t slam the door, and when Gloversville stepped in to capture the game, it gave the Huskies all the momentum they needed to notch a 3-0 sweep.
Gloversville won by game scores of 27-25, 25-15 and 25-20 to complete a season sweep of Amsterdam. Lady Rams coach Christine Sherlock called the match a near mirror image of the one the two teams played last week in Gloversville, when Amsterdam also let a chance to win the opening game slip through its grasp and the Huskies pounced.
“We just do not know how to come together as a team and win,” Sherlock said. “They’re just not tough. They should’ve had that first game, and if we had that first game it’s a whole different match.”
Alyssa Kuchis finished with four kills, two digs and a block to lead Amsterdam. The Lady Rams also got two kills, four assists, two digs and two blocks from Adriana Santiago and six assists, two kills and two digs from Madi Carmona.
Lucy McCredie led Gloversville with 14 assists, five kills, four aces and six digs. Abbey Johnson chipped in six kills and two aces, and Jasmine Gonzalez provided four kills and three blocks.
The Huskies led through most of the opening game, but Amsterdam fought back to take its first lead at 18-17 and eventually ran its lead to 24-20. However, Gloversville won four straight do-or-die points to keep the game alive, and after Amsterdam took a 25-24 lead, Gloversville fought back with three more points to snatch the 1-0 advantage on the match, punctuated by Maddy Avery’s game-ending ace.
“That was tough. We were without one of our setters (Aireana Muhlberger) tonight, so we had a lineup we hadn’t run in about five or six weeks,” Gloversville coach Duane Hicks said. “I’m pleased that we were able to pull it out. Amsterdam doesn’t give you anything. They make you work for everything.”
“I’m really disappointed with the way they came out, because after we did it last week at Gloversville, this was almost a carbon copy,” Sherlock said. “I thought perhaps they’d learn and come out a little bit stronger, but it just wasn’t there.”
Though Gloversville had a distinct size advantage at the net with Gonzalez and Johnson, the Huskies’ most consistently successful offense came not from power but finesse, with a number of deft tips and push shots — primarily by McCredie — keeping Amsterdam off-balance.
“We changed our defense a couple weeks ago to cover for the tip, and they’re in position to cover the tip, but you still have to move your feet,” Sherlock said. “The ball’s not gonna come right at you. They’re in the right spots, but they’re just not moving and reacting quickly enough to cover it.”
Gloversville cruised to victory in the second game and looked well on its way to closing out the match swiftly with a 19-14 lead in the third when Amsterdam finally found the spark it had lost at the end of the opening game.
The Lady Rams battled back, eventually tying things up at 20-20 and were buzzing as Hicks called a timeout to settle his team.
“The only time they really played well tonight was when their back was against the wall and they started to get a little spark there at the end,” Sherlock said. “They start to spark, and they play like I know they can.”
Out of the timeout, Gloversville rediscovered its composure and ran off five straight points, including a pair of emphatic kills from Gonzalez, to close out the victory.
Amsterdam has a quick turnaround and will be back in action tonight at 6 p.m. for their final Foothills Council home match of the season against South Division leader Broadalbin-Perth, which notched a 3-0 win over the Lady Rams when the two teams met last week.
“Hopefully, they’ll play to the level of our competition and bring it up,” Sherlock said. “We didn’t play too well when we saw them in Broadalbin.”