GLOVERSVILLE — After the stress of the Section II Class D final eight days earlier, the Argyle volleyball team had no problem dealing with another high-tension situation Saturday as they took on the Chateauguay Lady Bulldogs for the right to advance to the state final four.
Like in their sectional final win over Hartford, the Scots stormed out to win the first two games of their Class D regional final, only to come back to Earth a bit in the third game. Unlike eight days prior, Argyle (19-3) didn’t prolong the drama to five sets, with Danielle Sell and Alaina Keating finding their swings in the fourth game to close out a 3-1 win (25-13, 25-15, 18-25 and 25-16) and book Argyle’s first trip to the state tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center since 2010.
“We had to pull out the tools we know we have,” said Sill, a junior outside hitter. “I’m not sure what it is about the third game. If we think that we have it, we kind of let up, but then in the fourth game we get mad because that shouldn’t have happened and we bring it all back.”
Sill led the way with eight kills, five blocks and 11 digs. Keating contributed seven kills and four blocks, Jessie Wilson provided 22 assists and four digs and libero Autumn Aubrey compiled 17 digs.
For a team with just one senior — rarely-used Cheyenne Lufkin — on its roster, coach Peggy Seese saw her Argyle team display plenty of maturity.
“They’re a young group,” Seese said. “I graduated seven from last year, so for them to turn around and come back and play with a lot of heart, they’re doing really well.”
“This is so exciting. None of us have basically ever been here before,” Keating said.
Argyle cruised through the opening two games and was eight points away from wrapping up the match with a 17-13 lead in the third game when Chateauguay, led by outside hitter Savannah Fiorio, struck back with a 12-1 run to force a fourth game.
In the three-minute break between the third and fourth games, Seese settled her squad.
“I said, ‘Ladies, you’re not looking at the score. All you’re doing is setting the ball, going up and doing what we do,’” she said. “Because they get a little bit tentative, and all of a sudden you’re not swinging. Just play the ball.”
Argyle did just that, taking control midway through the game and getting a chance to celebrate when a Fiorino serve sailed out of bounds for the winning point.
The Scots will head to Glens Falls next week seeking their first state championship since 1999 and looking to become the first Section II team since Lake George in 2001 to capture the Class D championship. Unlike other sports, volleyball uses pool play in the first round. Argyle will be in the morning pool on Saturday, starting at 8:30 a.m.
“They’re just a really good group of kids,” Seese said. “To give them the opportunity to do this, that’s really exciting.”