- By Ron Babuka
Prior to this season ending 2015 IREVA Regional tournament, the Crown City Vipers had lost in two tournament quarterfinals, a semi-final, and a final against strong regional U18 teams. The IREVA tournament was held in Orange County and saw the Crown City Vipers play a total of 10 matches over two days.
The first day of tournament play was a battle for the roster-shortened Vipers with 5 matches being split, all close fought games with 2 points separating most wins from loses. The strength and equality of the playing field was seen when tournament directors needing to go to the 4th tie-breakers to determine which teams were placed in the silver bracket and which teams were placed in the bronze bracket.
Hard fought bronze bracket play began for the Vipers with closely fought matches again being the norm, highlighted by a Sunday 8:00 am match being fought to a 30-28 loss! After being seeded, the Vipers gained strength and began notching a series of close wins to advance through the bracket.
The championship game saw the Vipers facing rival LakeSide VBC in a best of three match in their 10th match of the weekend. Crown City and Lakeside challenged each other with back and forth lead changes and no team gaining more than a 2 point lead at any point in the first game.
Both teams showed the signs of the toll of the physical efforts over the weekend but in the end, Crown City toughed out a first game 28-26 win. In game 2, Crown City jumped out to a strong 5 point lead for much of the match until LakeSide closed the gap to a 17-15 lead for Crown City. Facing a change in momentum, the Crown City player were able to regroup and rebuild a 6 point lead and hold on for a second straight win and the tournament championship!
This year's Crown City team graduated four seniors, with three moving on to play Division III college volleyball.
The Lansing players on the Crown City roster include senior Cassidy Towner (outside hitter), and juniors Katherine Babuka (middle blocker) and Gianna Fezza (setter).