Thursday, November 11, 2010

Change of pace: Loudonville Christian falls to Voorheesville in Section II Class CC/C playoff

Arlina Anderson, one of two seniors on the Loudonville Christian team, leaps for a kill in front of Voorheesville's Anna Feller during Thursday's Section II Class CC/C playoff game at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. (Photos by J.S. Carras - The Record).

BURNT HILLS — The Loudonville Christian School’s girls volleyball team expected the fastball from Voorheesville’s hitters in Thursday’s Section II Class CC/C playoff match, but the Blackbirds, time and time again, fooled the Eagles with the changeup.

As the Loudonville defense crept back to defend the powerful kill shots from Voorheesville’s hitters, the Blackbirds adjusted and started softly tipping the ball into open space in the frontcourt, piling up the points in a 3-0 victory at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School by scores of 25-11, 25-23 and 25-18.

“Voorheesville completely deserved to win that match,” said Loudonville head coach Rosemary Burgher. “They’re a well-balanced team, defensively and offensively. They have a great setter and they have a smart attack. They knew where our holes were and they controlled the tempo of the game.”

The Blackbirds watched Loudonville score the first point of the match, but Voorheesville charged back on an 8-0 run that forced the Eagles to call timeout. Voorheesville poured it on offensively late as well, closing out the first game on a 9-1 run.

Loudonville Christian (16-3, Section II’s Class CC champion) led for much of the second game, but Voorheesville closed that game with an 11-5 run, to steal a 25-23 victory.

In the third game, the Blackbirds also finished strong on a 9-2 run to capture their first trip to regionals since 2007.

“Like I said to my team, it’s the ultimate team sport,” Burgher said. “Who remembers the third mistake on the third point? No one does. We win together, we lose together.”

Voorheesville senior libero Ellie Wagner paced the team with 34 digs and five service points, while senior outside hitter Morgan Vandervort added 11 kills and 10 digs. Libby Bjork, a freshman setter, added 34 assists and eight service points. Rebecca Bablin (eight service points, six kills) and Mariel McGinnis (seven kills, seven digs) also chipped in for the Blackbirds.

Loudonville Christian's Sam Parry leaps for a block during Thursday's Section II Class CC/C playoff game at Burnt Hills.

“That was a big adjustment for us,” Voorheesville head coach Sandra Vorse said. “Usually, we like to hit the ball hard. We’re a power team. The first game, we were hitting well and then they pulled their defense way deep. When that happens, you have to adjust, so we starting going offspeed and doing some tips.”

Loudonville Christian posted a 3-0 victory over Voorheesville in the 2009 Section II Class C championship game (there was just one bracket) and the memory of that loss certainly inspired Voorheesville Thursday afternoon.

“When we walked in here, I remembered coming out in the hall and feeling pretty lousy and I didn’t want to do that again,” Vorse said. “They went to a strength trainer this summer and they did ‘Loudonville Christian’ push-ups. They’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

Voorheesville (20-0, Section II’s Class C champion) advances to face Section VII champion AuSable Valley (9-9) in a regional final match Saturday at 4 p.m. at Niskayuna High School.

AuSable Valley had knocked off Section X champion Potsdam (13-8) in a regional semifinal Wednesday night. This is the first year Section VII teams are a part of the New York State tournament, as girls volleyball in the Plattsburgh area had been played as a winter sport in the past.

The New York State Final Four begins Saturday, Nov. 20 and continues through Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

Junior outside hitter Hattie Burgher paced the Eagles with 10 digs and eight kills. Senior middle hitter Arlina Anderson added five kills.

Following the match, the Most Valuable Players from the leagues with teams in Class C were honored at center court. Burgher, the Central Hudson Valley League MVP, and Wagner, the Colonial Council’s top individual player, were joined by Nancy Vickerson (Sr., Tamarac, Wasaren League), Katie Roth (Sr., Maple Hill, Patroon Conference), and Katy Munzenmaier (Sr., Lake George, Adirondack League).

Loudonville will lose Anderson and senior captain Chelsea Brown to graduation in June, but the rest of the team will return in 2011.

“We’ll be back. We’ll be back next year,” coach Burgher said. “This isn’t too shabby, but they forget it. They don’t put it into perspective. How many high school programs get to come to sectionals? I’m proud of them. I love them so much.”

Members of the Voorheesville High School girls volleyball team pose with the Section II trophy after defeating Loudonville Christian in the Section II Class CC/C playoff Thursday afternoon at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School. (Photo by Will Montgomery - The Record).

Other Section II championship scores from Thursday:

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake head coach Gary Bynon hugs one of his players after the Spartans captured their ninth straight Section II championship Thursday evening at Niskayuna High School. (BH-BL photos courtsey The Saratogian).

BURNT HILLS — The Shenendehowa High School girls volleyball team won its first Section II title in 20 years, defeating Bethlehem, 3-1 in the Section II Class AA championship match Thursday morning at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.
The Lady Plainsmen (16-4), the No. 2 seed, upset No. 1 Bethlehem (17-3) in the finals.
Shen will play Section III champion Baldwinsville on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Union College.
Class A
Burnt Hills 3, Queensbury 0: The No. 1 seeded Spartans (18-0) cruised to victory in the Section II Class A championship match at Niskayuna High School.
It was the ninth straight Section II title for Burnt Hills.
Burnt Hills will next play Section III champion Oswego on Saturday at Union College at 1 p.m.
Class B
Ravena 3, Johnstown 2: The No. 1 seeded Indians (18-1) held off the No. 3 Lady Bills (13-5) in the Section II Class B championship match at Burnt Hills.
Ravena will next play Section VII champion Beekmantown Saturday at 6 p.m. at Niskayuna.
Class D
Argyle 3, Hartford 1: The No. 3 seeded Scots (18-3) topped No. 4 Hartford (14-4) in an all-Adirondack League Section II Class C championship match at Burnt Hills.
Argyle will next play Section VII champion Northern Adirondack on Saturday at 5 p.m. at Union College.

The 2010 Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls volleyball team celebrates its ninth consecutive Section II title Thursday evening at Niskayuna High School.
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