Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top 10 stories of 2009: No. 10 - Troy and Tamarac volleyball teams win league titles

Over the course of the next two weeks, I will bring you The Record's top 10 youth sports stories from the Capital Region, counting down to No. 1.
(I did this last year as one big post - you can view the top 10 stories of 2008 by clicking here.)

Winning league titles has become second nature for the Troy High volleyball team, which made a second consecutive undefeated run through the Big 10 Conference in 2009.
For their neighbors to the east, a banner year was a big deal.

The Tamarac High team, guided by coach Judy Burton, pictured above, had never in school history won a league title. There is no volleyball banner in the Bengals gymnasium because there were no championship seasons to display.
Until 2009.

Junior Nancy Vickerson, pictured below, won her second straight Wasaren League MVP award. More importantly to the team, the Bengals finally captured the league title and they can put in an order for a banner.

(Tamarac photos by Mike McMahon - The Record).

The postseason wasn't kind to the No. 3 seeded Bengals, who dropped an opening round contest at home to No. 14 Mechanicville. (Loudonville Christian defeated Voorheesville for the 2009 Class C Crown. Click here for 2009 Section II volleyball brackets).

Still, Burton is slowly building a program from the ground up, catching middle-school age players and turning them into year-round volleyball junkies. That is the kind of attitude that has built Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake into a perennial winner and with a banner to finally call their own, the Bengals will be aiming high in the fall of 2010.

First-year Troy High head coach Christine Danz tightens the nets prior to a practice this season. (Troy photos by Tom Killips - The Record).

The Flying Horses entered the 2009 season still riding the success of their magical 2008 campaign. A year ago, Troy ran undefeated through the Big 10 regular season and shocked Burnt Hills in the first game of the Section II Class A championship match. Burnt Hills rallied to win the Section II championship, but the Troy program had already made a name for itself.

And what did they do for an encore?

The Horses needed to replace Kristen Tully, Emily Jones and Shannon Jones - three crucial parts of the 2008 team.

Maddie Weaver, pictured below, stepped up to become the team's setter and the returning front line of Sylvia Sorriento, Rachel Martin and Bridget Haggerty had another great year, leading the Flying Horses to another perfect season in league play.

Troy dispatched Mohonasen in the first round of the Class A playoffs and missed a rematch with Burnt Hills after falling to Queensbury in the semifinals.

Will Rensselaer County continue its volleyball dominance in 2010? Only time will tell, but the Troy and Tamarac programs are certainly on the right track toward building winners year-in and year-out.

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