LOWVILLE — Multiple generations have helped Lowville volleyball coach Jim Rhodes get to 400 career coaching wins.
Eliana Bonbrest totaled 15 digs and five kills while Meredith Lovenduski distributed 14 assists as Lowville swept Watertown, 25-11, 25-29, 27-25, for a Frontier League crossover victory Saturday afternoon. The “B” Division leaders moved to 9-1 overall and 8-1 in league play in Rhodes’ the milestone win.
“I always joke that I’ve been here a really long time and have had a lot of really good players,” Rhodes said.
Alana Mastin collected 15 digs and Makayla Rocha contributed 14 digs and seven service points for the Cyclones (4-7, 3-6). Watertown was coming off a quick turnaround after beating Utica Proctor on the road in four sets Friday night.
The victory capped off a big week for Lowville, which won three matches coming back from Christmas break. One of the highlights was a four-set victory over previously unbeaten South Lewis on Wednesday.
“We had a lot of fun at South Lewis and playing against them was a lot of fun,” senior librero Kiley Zicari said.
Rhodes has coached the Red Raiders for 32 years and guided the program to multiple Section 3 titles. Lowville’s volleyball program is filled with veteran coaches who have been part of its rich lineage and the continuity has been key.
“One of the things I’ve seen with the strong programs is that consistency of coaching staffs,” Rhodes said.
Four of the Red Raiders’ players have parents who have played for Rhodes, so there’s been multiple generations that have been part of the program. Lovenduski, whose mother Jennifer played under Rhodes, was glad to get the win.
“Dating back to then to now and getting 400 wins is just amazing,” Lovenduski said.
Rhodes is quick to credit the coaching staffs of the pee wee, modified and junior varsity levels with giving him good players.
“I always feel like I get to do the polishing on the finished product,” Rhodes said. “The hard work is done at the modified and JV levels.”
Lowville started fast to claim the first set, but struggled in the second after Watertown won the first four points. The Red Raiders bounced back after getting the ball to their hitters in Bonbrest and Anna Exford.
“I think we do a lot of that by gut,” Lovenduski said. “It’s all about instincts.”
It looked like Lowville would close out the match in style, but Watertown fought back to tie the third set at 25. The Red Raiders composed themselves and gained the final two points to complete the sweep.
Lowville senior setter Hannah Gyore said coach’s milestone victory was important to the players.
“We were extremely nervous in trying to get coach his 400th win, so we grinded it out for him,” Gyore said.
The Cyclones put up stiff resistance in the closing two sets with a young squad. Despite the loss, Boomhower was happy for her colleague in reaching an important milestone. The pair have known each other for a long time.
“Him and I have been on the sectional committee since I was coaching varsity and there’s a mutual respect there,” Boomhower said.