The Hudson Falls Lady Tigers varsity volleyball team featured a team of nine seniors at Friday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) Section 2 Class B final, all with the experience of having played together at the state championships. That experience turned out to be more than the Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots could handle as the Lady Tigers prevailed in three games 25-22, 25-25-13, 25-16 at Saratoga Springs High School.
“They have the experience,” Broadalbin-Perth coach Mike Calvello said in regards to Hudson Valley. “They have nine seniors. It’s hard to compete when you play a group that’s played together for six years.”
The Lady Patriots (13-3) came into the final match fresh off a 3-0 victory over third seed Academy of Holy Names, and were hoping to avenge an earlier loss to the Lady Tigers when they fell in four games to the defending Class B champions back on October 6 at Broadalbin- Perth High School. Just like the previous match, the two teams battled to gain momentum from the start.
The first game was an exhausting effort by both teams, as neither could gain an advantage on their serve with eight side outs forcing a 5-5 score. A kill by Lady Tigers senior Reagan Collier-Hogan pushed Hudson Falls in front 6-5, and finally on Moira Hogan’s serve, they managed to string together a couple of points to go up 8-5. That rally came to end with a solid kill by BPHS’ Adrienne Morreale. BPHS sophomore Eliana Fraser stepped to the line and promptly tied things up as Hudson Falls found it difficult to pull away from the Lady Patriots. The serving of Madison Fariello, and the hitting of Cassy Bown tied things up at 10-10, and kept the opening game close giving the Broadalbin-Perth a chance for a surge in momentum.
That momentum finally swung the Lady Patriots way when Kayla Weaver set up Fariello beautifully, for a kill down the left side to make the score 19-18. Fariello then showed another strength in her game serving up two points to finally give the Lady Patriots their first lead since the opening minutes of the match.
“The first game we were right there,” Coach Calvello said. “Then the train wreck. I can’t explain what happened.”
The Lady Tigers’ experience paid off and they never backed down. After a side out, Weaver set up Bown for one of her five kills for the match and BPHS inched ahead again at 21-20. However, it was their last lead as a kill by Naesha Kelly gave the serve back to the Lady Tigers, and Kierra McCarthy put Hudson Falls one point away from an opening game win at 24-21. A rally during that run featured every player on the court touching the ball and was a highlight for the match with several impressive digs. An unforced error gave Hudson Falls the opening game and the momentum.
Game two saw BPHS work out to a 3-0 lead off Fraser’s serve and a pair of kills by Bown. Hudson Falls fought back to one on a kill by senior Meghan Gebo, but a kill by Fariello put the ball back in BPHS’ hands. Fariello then served up three points, helping her own cause with a back court kill, and got a block from Bown to put BPHS in front 7-2, their largest lead of the match. The momentum swung again though, and McCarthy served up a string of points aided by a kill from Madyson Markey, and in minutes the lead was gone.
“In the second game we were there, and we let them right back in it,” Coach Calvello said.
The Lady Patriots pushed back and tied the game twice more on kills by Tesa Brody and Sydney Rogers, but kills by Markey, and Collier Hogan had the Lady Tigers up 13-11. Gebo stepped to the line and rattled off four points giving the Lady Tigers some breathing room at 17-11.Collier-Hogan strung together six points on her serve, and later ended game two with a kill.
Game three gave the Lady Patriots a chance to spell their starters, and show the future of the varsity team. Freshman Lily Mitchell, who has been in the starting rotation for much of the season was on the floor with sophomores Fraser and Fariello, junior Allison McDonald, and the Rogers sisters, sophomore Sydney and eighth grader Sofia. The pair appeared to have their own fan club, who brought signs and cheered for the sisters. The young team fought hard and played well when mixed with the veterans, but the Lady Tigers pulled away behind the serving of Gebo and Meghan Marchese, and the hitting of Danielle Kitchner, and Kelly. Broadalbin-Perth’s season ended for the second straight year against Hudson Falls, in the Class B final.
“We’ll be back next year,” Coach Calvello said. “The girls have worked hard. We’re there in the final every year, and that’s a tribute to our girls.”
Bown, Frasier, and Fariello each totaled five kills for BPHS. Frasier and Fariello also led the team with six service points apiece. Brody and Morreale each had a pair of kills. Mitchell led with seven assists, Weaver had six, and McDonald had one. Sydney Rogers had one point and one kill, and younger sister Sofia recorded one point from her serve. Also called up to the varsity team for Broadalbin- Perth were Allie Spagnola and Olivia Fraser.
Hudson Falls was led by Foothills Council MVP Reagan Collier-Hogan, who totaled 13 service points, and four kills. Moira Hogan, Markey, and Kitchner each had four kills. Marchese had three service points. McCarthy had nine service points, Gebo was next with eight, and Kelly had four points for a Hudson Falls team that advances to regional play.
This years’ Lady Patriots team featured only two seniors in Olivia Casey and Kayla Weaver. Both greatly contributed to the success of the BPHS volleyball program over the past few years. Casey was a member of the 2015 team that reached the New York State Class C final four. With her graduation, only two members of that team remain, junior Cassy Bown, and sophomore Madison Fariello. They will be key as the team moves forward. The 2017 Lady Patriots will always be known as the team that achieved Coach Mike Calvello’s 400th career win, reaching that milestone in the semi- final against Holy Names. The Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots will have plenty of valuable experience to build on heading into the 2018 season.
“We have to do things in the off season to prepare,” Coach Calvello said. “The girls know what it takes to succeed.”