Area high school volleyball players have been getting a head start on the fall season playing in the Sacandaga Summer Volleyball League. Members of the two time defending Class C sectional and regional champion Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots wrapped up the 2016 summer league title with a 25-10, 25-16 victory over Fonda-Fultonville in the championship match Wednesday evening at Fulton-Montgomery Community College in Johnstown.
Wednesday night’s matches included a pair of semi-final contests before the championship and culminated a month long program involving teams from ten area high schools playing games on Wednesday nights in July at the college. All of the teams in the league participate in either the Foothills Council or the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) during the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 2 high school volleyball season. Teams from Broadalbin-Perth, Amsterdam, Johnstown, and Gloversville are part of the Foothills Council, while teams from Mekeel Christian Academy, Mayfield, Fort Plain, Oppenheim-Ephratah-St. Johnsville, Notre Dame Bishop Gibbons, and Fonda-Fultonville, who announced their return to the conference, are part of the WAC. Practice doesn’t start for high schools until August 15, but the experience of playing in the summer league provides something to build on for the upcoming school season.
“It gets the kids playing in the summer,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Mike Calvello said. “They get a chance to see other teams.”
Many of the teams in the league will face one another on the high school level during the fall, and in some cases in playoffs. Such was the case with the two final participants Broadalbin-Perth and Fonda-Fultonville, who when they last met on the high school court was in the NYSPHSAA Section 2 Class C championship match at Saratoga Springs High School, a match won by the Lady Patriots 25-9, 25-16, 25-14, on their way to a second straight final four appearance in the state championships.
Broadalbin-Perth built an 8-2 lead in game one behind the serve of Madison Fariello and Jordan Marshall, the only two returning starters for this year’s Lady Patriots team. Danielle Winney recorded an impressive dig that scored a point for BPHS and led to a run of service points by Sarah Kline that pushed the advantage to 16-5. Fariello and Marshall teamed up again to boost the lead to 21-8, followed by a point off serve and a kill by Micheala Egan that put BPHS within a reach of a game one win at 24-10. Marshall then ended the drama with an ace at 25-10.
Game two was closer with momentum swinging back and forth. An ace by Fariello and a pair of kills by Marshall gave BPHS a 3-0 lead early, but Fonda-Fultonville rallied behind the serve of Anne Sinicropi and the hitting of Juliet Mancini to take a 4-3 lead. An ace by Jenna Hanson put FFHS up 6-4 before Marshall forced a side out with a kill and served up a point to tie the game at 6-6. A kill by Tesa Brody gave BPHS the lead once again before FFHS rallied behind the serve of Hanna Moore and a kill by Mancini, and then a point off Jillian Wilder’s serve for an 11-10 FFHS lead. It would be their last however, and when Tesa Brody stepped to the service line once again for BPHS, three straight points including a pair of aces gave BPHS the lead for good. Marshall connected for three kills late in the game to keep BPHS in front, and the senior pushed the lead to 23-14 with a pair of service points. Danielle Winney ended the match with an ace.
“Playing in this league gives the younger kids valuable experience,” said Coach Calvello, whose team was short three players on Wednesday night, two of which were on varsity last year. “The girls get a chance to play and get the jitters out before the school season starts.”
The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots will have only two seniors when the fall sports season starts. Jordan Marshall and Michaela Egan were part of the varsity team that made it to the state final four for the second consecutive season. Marshall is the only remaining member of the 2014 BPHS varsity team that was the first volleyball team in school history to reach the state championships, and she will be counted on for her leadership.
“Jordan understands her role on the team,” Coach Calvelo said. “She’s not a vocal leader, she has to lead by example. Jordan accepts her role.”
Marshall led her team on the court with seven kills and eight points off her serve including a pair of aces. Her teammate, freshman Madison Fariello (11 points, 12 assists), who was the teams libero last season, was often setting up Marshall with accurate passes. Fariello will have a new role on this year’s team, that of the Lady Patriots setter. Fariello said after the match that her older sister Keyana, who was also part of the 2014 team has been helping her prepare for the new role, just as she did a year ago when Madison Fariello took her sisters place as the team’s libero.
Michaela Egan, sophomore Cassy Bown, and junior Olivia Casey also return to the BPHS varsity. Among the new faces include Tesa Brody (4 pts, 2 aces, 2 kills), Danielle Winney (3 aces, 1 kill), Sarah Kline (6 pts.), Kayla Weaver, Kara Terwilliger, and Eliana Frasier.
“Teams in the Sacandaga Summer League are from the Foothills Council and the WAC,” Coach Calvello said. “It gives a chance to gauge where we are, but it’s early yet.”
Broadalbin-Perth defeated Mayfield 25-18, 25-12, to reach the final round. Fonda-Fultonville defeated Mekeel Christian Academy 25-23, 25-11.
Practices start for fall sports on August 15. The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots will be hosting their Tip Off Tournament on Saturday, August 27 at Broadalbin-Perth High School. Most of the teams scheduled to play in the tournament are also part of the Sacandaga Summer League.