Saturday, October 2, 2010

Troy High volleyball flying high in the Big 10....since 2008

TROY -- Troy High School’s girls volleyball team is riding one serious winning streak. The Flying Horses have not lost a match in the Big 10 Conference since the tail end of the 2007 season.
Acting serious, however, hasn’t exactly been the team’s key to success.

"For us, honestly, if we are having fun and happy, we just do good," said senior outside hitter Bridget Haggerty. "We like being weird, kind of."

Troy High senior Rachel Martin is one of the best blockers in the area and she hopes to lead the Flying Horses to an elusive Section II title in 2010. (J.S. Carras photos - The Record).

Haggerty, as well as fellow seniors Sylvia Sorriento and Rachel Martin, were freshmen on the 2007 team. They have a long legacy of providing just as many yuks as kills on the court. But now that their high school careers are winding down – all three hope to continue playing the sport collegiately – the trio is setting its sights on the one hurdle they’ve yet to clear thus far: winning a Section II championship.

In 2008, the trio, as sophomores, carried Troy High on an undefeated run through the regular season and a berth in the Section II Class A championship match against Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, which has an even more impressive streak of league victories.

After Thursday’s victory over Shaker, the Lady Spartans have won 289 straight Suburban Council matches, a run that dates back to the 1990 season. The Burnt Hills boys have quite the streak of their own, having posted 125 straight Suburban Council victories.

Troy won the first game of that match against Burnt Hills, but the Spartans rallied to win three games in a row and capture yet another Section II title.

Troy High senior Bridget Haggerty works on her setting skills during a recent practice, but her main weapon on the volleyball court is her ability to rack up the kills against the opposition.

As juniors, the team again went undefeated in league play but was bounced in the Section II Class A semifinals by Queensbury.

This year, the trio is hoping its combined offensive firepower and an inspired effort to improve defensively can carry the team to its first Section II championship since the 1983 season.

"You can tell the way they work on the court, the three of them, you can tell that they’ve been playing together for years," said head coach Christine Danz. "So coming in, this is my second year here, I knew we had a strong offensive team. Our biggest goal this year has been to pick up our defense. Going into sectionals we know we’re going to have stronger teams hitting against us and we have to be quicker and faster and that’s really been our goal this year."

What makes this group’s success all the more amazing is that they’re working with their third setter in three years. Shannon Jones, who now plays softball at Siena College, framed their shots in 2008. In 2009, Maddie Weaver served as setter.

For video highlights from Thursday's victory over Amsterdam and player interviews, visit www.troyrecord.com/video/sports

This season, Mary Gallagher has emerged as the quarterback of the offense, although the hitters have taken some time to adjust to her.

"Last year, she (Weaver) was a new setter too and we did pretty good," Haggerty said. "We were able to work off her and this year we’re doing pretty good too."

Troy (6-0, 11-0) heads uptown to play at Big 10 Conference rival Catholic Central (5-1, 7-2) Tuesday.
It’s easy to have fun on the court when your team hasn’t lost a league game in two-plus years, but that happy-go-lucky attitude is also what has kept the streak alive for the Troy seniors.

"I always tell them, you come to play volleyball," Danz said. "You play and work hard and we can have so much fun doing that as long as you’re still playing. They know exactly when it starts getting, you know, a little out of hand and they’re getting too goofy, because they pick it up right away. All I have to say is ‘take a breath and let’s regroup.’ They can do it. I think that’s the biggest thing. It’s very hard once you reach that level to bring a team back, but they can always do that."

Christine Danz, in her second year leading the Troy High volleyball team, has not lost a game in the Big 10. Troy High last lost a league game when this year's seniors were freshmen.


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