SHERMAN - Joanne Meadows began her career at Sweet Home High School in Amherst.
Not surprisingly, it was there that the current Chautauqua Lake head coach picked up what can best be described as the guiding principle behind her volleyball coaching philosophy.
"When I first started," she recalled, "a lady I coached with at Sweet Home told me, 'Drill the basics until they are basic.' So we do a lot of basic stuff in practice, like serving and serve-receive. And that's why (errors on the basic plays during matches) are a big pet peeve of mine. I hate when you're fighting in a game and then miss a serve. I think my kids know (how much I hate it) because they try not to miss too many."
Photo by Rob Tucker
Chautauqua Lake’s Jenna Einink delivers a set during Thursday’s CCAA West II girls high school volleyball match against Sherman.
Her team didn't let her down Thursday (Sept. 26) as the Lady Thunderbirds swept Sherman, 25-9, 26-24, 25-11, in West Division II action.
Together, the group compiled 15 aces, countless more service winners and committed a mere eight unforced service errors in more than 80 attempts.
"Chautauqua Lake is very good," Sherman coach Pat Burns said after his Lady Wildcats fell to 4-3 overall and 3-3 in league. "We knew we were going to have a tough time. They had good serves while our serve-receive was weak, and they took advantage of it."
Chautauqua Lake, which won its first 17 games in a row last season on the way to a Section 6 Class D-1 crown, is on a similar path this year. With their latest victory, the Lady Thunderbirds are a perfect 8-0 overall and 6-0 in league.
Jenna Einink led the way for the victors with 16 kills, five aces, two assists and two blocks while Katie Meadows chipped in with three aces and 13 assists. Tara Hunt contributed 10 assists, three digs and two kills for the winners.
While the team-wide effort at the service line was impressive enough, it was Kylee Braymiller who stood out the most.
The junior ripped off nine straight points in the opening-game victory, tallied five straight during a crucial stretch of the hard-fought second - helping the Lady Thunderbirds overcome a four-point deficit - and then served the first eight points to open the third to give her squad a comfortable lead it would never relinquish.
"I think that Kylee's got a really great serve," Meadows said, "When it's on, it's tough to beat. There's a lot of kids (who contributed in that area) - Jenna Einink had several aces, too - and we work a lot on that."