WEBSTER — The blond mohawk that sits atop David Evans’ head symbolizes a good luck charm for Penfield’s volleyball team.
During each of the last three seasons, various members of the Patriots have sported the “do,” and their season has ended with the same result: a sectional championship.
Penfield made it four in a row Tuesday night, sweeping rival McQuaid in three sets at Webster Schroeder to clinch the school’s fourth-consecutive Class A crown.
The second-seeded Patriots (20-2) defeated No. 4 McQuaid (19-3) 25-20, 25-19 and 25-13 and Evans earned MVP honors after his 13-kill performance.
Evans served up 10 straight second-set points to help Penfield rally from an 8-3 deficit and Ryan Dangler, referred to as Penfield’s unsung contributor by Patriots coach Mike Fusare, won five straight in the third to put Penfield up 19-8.
“When I started my run, I just went back there, concentrated and focused on the spot where I was going to serve. Once I started catching fire, I just let it rip,” said Evans, a senior outside hitter and one of 10 Patriots with a mohawk.
“Dangler’s been serving like that all year, and it was almost like we expect that from him. He came through in the clutch.”
Setter Cody Wiktorski had 36 assists and served the last two points of set three for Penfield, which will square off against five other sectional champions in regionals Saturday morning at Schroeder. The top two teams from pool play will advance into the finals.
“I didn’t have to work that hard to get the ball to our hitters, and that’s always a good thing as a setter,” said Wiktorski, a sophomore. “It’s awesome, there’s nothing better than this, and to beat McQuaid, one of our biggest rivals, you couldn’t ask for anything more.”
The Patriots, fresh off a third-place regional finish in 2008, had to deal with adversity this year. After not having lost to a Section V opponent since 2006 — a span of 50-plus wins — the Patriots lost back-to-back contests to Rush-Henrietta and Victor, but Evans said those losses inspired Penfield.
It showed, as Penfield won its 12th consecutive set in a sectional final.
“Those losses were the turning points of our season,” Evans said. “We had to go back in the gym and practice as hard as we can, because we’re not just going to have sectionals handed to us.”
These perennial powers have met in five of the last six title games: McQuaid bested Penfield in 2004 and 2005 while Penfield defeated the Knights for the championship in 2006, 2008 and this year.
“David Evans is extremely deserving of MVP, because (his service run) in Game 2 was the turning point in the match,” McQuaid coach Christopher Parks said. “We were up on them and had them on the ropes and our guys were ready to pounce and David went back and rattled off his serving run.”
Besides Evans, Penfield had two others selected to the all-tournament team: Wiktorski and Sutherland. The rest of the team included Gabe Cartagena (Rush-Henrietta), Paul Syta (Fairport) and Steve Lodico (McQuaid).