On Saturday, November 1, 2014, Broadalbin-Perth was a point away from a sectional title in their match with Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk in the Class C final at Burnt Hills- Ballston Lake High School. BPHS junior Zoe Simonson had reeled off six straight service points and her team was looking for just one more. The next RCS serve is returned by BPHS junior Megan Ryder and is touched by two RCS players, and then the whistle sounds. And for the first time since 2003 the Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots volleyball team are sectional champions 25-20, 25-23, 25-9. It was a goal that they had within their grasp a year ago but slipped away.
“We definitely fought hard,” said BPHS senior Lauren Adamchick. “We wanted to redeem ourselves after last year. The seniors wanted to end on a good note and we wanted to win this one for Mr. C.”
Adamchick was referring to her coach Mike Calvello, or as his players call him, “Coach C.” who picked up his tenth Section 2 title as head coach of the varsity program at BPHS.
“We’re going to have to play a little better,” said Calvello after his team’s semi final win over Stillwater. The Lady Patriots had a fight on their hands with RCS but each time rose to the challenge.
Senior Chelsea LeBlanc duplicated her performance against Stillwater on Thursday by serving up a pair of points and then recording a block helping BPHS take an 8-4 lead in the first game. After a long volley, a kill by RCS’ Kim Hughes, and a pair of points from Christine Vasto moved RCS within one, LeBlanc stood strong at the net like she did two nights before and blocked a kill attempt by RCS’ center hitter Hailey Irvis denying a chance for RCS to tie. LeBlanc, Ryder, Simonson and Jordan Marshall all came up with kills in the next few volleys allowing BPHS to stay one step ahead of their opponent. Later, when RCS junior Bailey Kross served up a pair of points to pull RCS within two at 19-17, Simonson responded with a kill to end that rally, and when Makayla Shear got RCS close at 23-20, Simonson swung the momentum back in her teams favor again with outstanding play at the net.
“Momentum is really a big past of it,” said LeBlanc, who finished with 13 points, five kills and three blocks. “We were nervous. Last year we didn’t win in finals but we got a second chance. We knew Mr. C was proud of us . We just wanted to win this for him.”
Broadalbin-Perth looked to dominate game two taking an early 5-2 lead behind the serve of senior Keyana Fariello. However, RCS came to play, and behind the serve of Kross and Vasto who had a team high eight points, and setting up Irvis, who led RCS with eight kills, the Lady Indians got some key hits and took an 8-6 lead.
“Ron (Racey) does a great job with his kids,” said Calvello about his opponent. “I knew it was going to be a battle.”
Broadalbin Perth got the serve back and tied the score on a kill by Adamchick. LeBlanc served up three straight points for the lead once again. Shear responded with a pair of serves for RCS to get within one, but, Adamchick’s second kill kept the Lady Patriots in front at 12-10. RCS made a last stand behind the hitting of Irvis and the serving of Vasto for a 20-19 lead, but the Lady Patriots had plenty of options to go to and executed their passes to set up Simonsen and LeBlanc for kills and a 24-20 lead. A remarkable save by Vasto led to a kill by Shear inching RCS within one. But, Simonson then ended the drama with a tip over the net putting BPHS one game away.
“I said to them after that game, ‘did you get all the jitters out?’” said Coach Calvello. “Both teams were back and fourth. We just refocused and had good serves. The girls stepped up tonight.”
The Lady Patriots were literally serving for the match in game three. Jordan Marshall got things started helping BPHS take a 4-1 lead. Megan Ryder served up a pair of aces and suddenly it was 7-2. A block and a kill by LeBlanc made in 9-2 before Kross and Irvis replied for RCS cutting the lead to 9-5. A pair of service points by LeBlanc and a kill by Simonson and suddenly it was 13-7. BPHS junior Gabby Smith drilled a pair of aces and the goal was closer at 15-7. Simonson brought it even closer at 24-9 and then Ryder’s hit was not returned for the final point. The crowd gave the team a standing ovation.
“It feels amazing,” said BPHS senior Keyana Fariello. “We’ve worked so hard for the last two years. To just finally be Class C champions is just amazing. I know Mr. C. is proud of us. And this is his tenth sectional win.”
The 2014 Lady Patriots join the teams from 1994-1997, and 1999-2003 as Section 2 champions. After the match, the players reflected on the goal they just reached with the motto ‘We Won’t Stop’.
“It’s just awesome,” said junior Zoe Simonson. “Coach C has wanted this so bad for us. You saw how happy he was. We weren’t looking at the score. We just knew we couldn’t let the ball hit on our side of the floor.”
The Lady Patriots played an efficient game. Simonson added eight digs to go along with six service points and a team high 13 kills. Chelsea LeBlanc’s 13 service points were also a team best.
“We have great potential,” said LeBlanc. “I’m glad we could win it this year.”
LeBlanc’s teammate and fellow senior Lauren Adamchick also expressed relief that her team got the title this year.
“It’s a huge weight off all of us,” said Adamchick. “It became mentally and physically hard on us, but we just kept pushing forward. It’s an amazing feeling.”
The 2014 team advances to the state regional, and will play close to home. The Lady Patriots will play Ogdensburg Free Academy of Section 10 on Wednesday at Saratoga High School. The match is set to begin at 4:30pm.