Lady Patriots volleyball advance to Class C final

Photo by Scott Mulford

The Broadalbin-Perth girls volleyball team took another step toward a sectional title Thursday night. The Lady Patriots defeated the Stillwater Lady Warriors 25-5, 25-19, 25-7 at Ballston Spa High School in the first Class C semifinal. Senior Chelsea LeBlanc won the battle at the net finishing with 10 blocks, 9 kills and six service points.

LeBlanc had the task of contending with one of the tallest players on the Stillwater team, junior middle hitter Mattison Drinkwater. LeBlanc made a statement early in the match with one kill and three blocks including one to end the first game.

“Chelsea did a great job at the net hitting and blocking,” BPHS coach Mike Calvello said. “Mattison Drinkwater is a big girl and you can’t simulate what’s going to happen until you see someone. Chelsea did a really good job of staying in front of her.”

Zoe Simonsen served up seven points in the first game with two aces. Jordan Marshall posted five points off her serve as Broadalbin had no trouble in the opening game. However, the Lady Warriors put up a fight in game two.

LeBlanc picked up where she left off with a block and a kill as BPHS inched out to a 5-2 lead. Trailing 8-5, Stillwater got a pair of kills by Emily Wescott to move within one. A pair of service points from Diana Erno later tied the game at 11-11. The number one seeded Lady Patriots were getting a test from Stillwater.

“We did a nice job coming this far as a number thirteen seed,” said Stillwater coach Alicia Collier. “We proved that we were not going down without a fight. We played them tough.”

Broadalbin-Perth once again began finishing plays. A kill by LeBlanc made the score 13-11. Megan Ryder followed with a kill into the middle of the Stillwater front court. LeBlanc drilled another to make it a 16-12 lead. Working to make each of those points happen was Lady Patriots setter Gabby Smith.

“Gabby did a good job of moving the ball around,” said Coach Calvello. “She was getting people isolated. They couldn’t set up their blocks.”

A kill by Drinkwater put Stillwater within five at 19-14, but that was as close as they would get. A pair of kills by Simonsen, one from LeBlanc, and the final point from Ryder put BPHS within one game of the final. Marshall added four service points,and Keyana Fariello tallied five helping BPHS take advantage of a weakness in Stillwater’s game.

“Our serve receive is the weakest part of our game,” said Stillwater coach Collier. “Once our passing was there we made things happen. The excitement of game two got to us and our serve receive went back to what it was.”

Broadalbin Perth regained focus in game three. A kill by LeBlanc after a long volley gave the Lady Patriots a 4-2 lead. BPHS continued to take control at the net. Blocks by Smith and Simonsen boosted the lead to 7-2 with LeBlanc picking up five service points. Two kills from from Simonsen and one each from Marshall and Ryder accented by a game high 28 assists by Smith pushed the lead to 13-5. Fariello earned a pair of assists with two spectacular digs that turned into points. LeBlanc completed her stellar performance with a pair of kills into the center of the front court and a block for a 24-7 lead. Moments later Simonsen finished the three game sweep with her last kill.

“The worst thing that could happen was we could dominate game one,” said Coach Calvello. “Give them credit, they (Stillwater) got to everything in the second set. I’m happy we could refocus on the third set. I said to them forget about the last two and just come out and focus in the third set and they did.”

Marshall and Fariello led BPHS with 12 service points each. Fariello also had 12 digs. Simonsen led in kills with 10. Marshall added six, and Ryder eight. Drinkwater led Stillwater with six kills.

“I’m happy with the effort,” said Coach Calvello. “They’re focused on what has to be done.”

Broadalbin- Perth will meet Ravena Coeymans Selkirk High School in the Section 2 Class C final on Saturday at Burnt Hills -Ballston Lake High School. RCS defeated Fonda-Fultonville High School in the second semifinal 27-25, 25-20, 25-22. Saturday’s final is scheduled for 3pm.

Scott Mulford

Scott Mulford has been covering local sports for over 20 years. He previously wrote for the Amsterdam Star and The Free Press of the Mohawk Valley.