POPLAR RIDGE | After the volleyball match, several Southern Cayuga players hugged the coach of the team they had just beaten 4-1. Parents of Southern Cayuga students also came and shook Todd Ward's hand after the Chiefs had beaten Moravia on Thursday night.
It was fitting, considering that it was Ward that brought so much success to that gym for several years, guiding the Chiefs to a Section IV, Class D title in 2010. Many of the current Chiefs players were familiar with Moravia's first-year coach, since Ward's final season at Southern Cayuga was last year.
"It was tough, but some of the parents came up to me and gave me support, so that felt good," Ward said. "But I'm with Moravia now, I'm a Blue Devil. I'll always have red and white in me, this is where I coached, this is one of my favorite places to be. This is where I went to school, I probably spent a third of my life in this gym, so I liked coming in here."
There were few more excited than Ward on Thursday, when the Blue Devils won the third set. It's been a learning experience for the young Blue Devils this season, who fell to 0-9 with the loss.
"(Wednesday) night we played Lansing and we went four with them," Ward said. "Any kind of success we can build off of — they know my history here, they wanted to do well for me. I think they were playing as much for me as themselves — that made me feel good."
Southern Cayuga took the victory 25-13, 25-22, 19-25, 25-12, which was a rebound win for them, after falling to Dryden in straight sets the night before.
"I think we did pretty well given the circumstances," said Chiefs coach Nicole Detamaso. "The girls went in knowing they were playing against a former coach, they wanted to go in strong and they did. They lost to Dryden, but they left there smiling, which was my biggest thing. I didn't want them to get down on themselves. They knew they played well and they knew they could rally tonight."
Leading the Chiefs was Alexis Medina, who had 15 kills. Kelsie Emerson had six kills, two digs and three aces, while Marlee Harris (seven aces, four kills), Maria White (two aces, three kills, one dig), Jessica Holden (two aces, 16 assists, two digs), Haley Reynolds (nine aces) and Heidi Bastian (six aces, one kill, one dig) also played well.
For the Blue Devils, Emily Hall had two aces, Ashley Justian recorded five kills, Emily Toti had three aces and two kills and Jasmine Pooler had three aces, four assists and two kills.
Southern Cayuga hosts Lansing on Monday, while Moravia hosts Groton Friday.