BROADALBIN — A careful study of their only loss of the regular season provided a blueprint for South Glens Falls’ third straight trip to the Class A final of the Section II Volleyball Tournament.
Weathering Queensbury runs throughout a hard-fought match, the Bulldogs emerged with a 25-22, 20-25, 25-19, 25-22 semifinal victory Thursday night at Broadalbin-Perth High School.
South High (20-1) will face top-seeded Burnt Hills in the finals for the third year in a row, set for Thursday at 7 p.m. at Saratoga Springs High School.
“We spent a lot of time working on blocking, and my girls did a great job shutting down their middles, which last time we played them were a big factor,” said South High coach Alicia Collier, whose team split with Queensbury in Foothills Council play.
“We watched a lot of film and learned what they did, and just adjusted to it and played their style of game better than they did,” junior libero Haylee Scarincio said. “They are a very quick offense and we had to adjust with our defense better than we did last time.”
Middle hitters Kasen Lemay and Grace Taylor each recorded 16 kills, with Lemay adding four blocks and Taylor three blocks.
“It was amazing — last time they really beat us at the net in every sense, and we knew what we had to work on and we reached our goals tonight,” said Lemay, a senior.
Scarincio served up 19 points with seven aces, and had 15 digs. Kionah Thomas had 22 digs and 10 points for the Bulldogs, as their defense came up huge.
“Our defense was a huge part of tonight’s success,” Collier said. “Even in that last timeout, I told them their ability to adjust and to read those hitters was exactly why we were able to run our offense today.”
“We had an unbelievable defensive night,” Lemay said. “Lately we’ve been having a hard time setting up a strong offense, but tonight we came out strong and really put an offense together.”
The Spartans (14-5) held the lead for much of the first two sets. South High battled back from a 16-10 deficit tie and ultimately win the first set. Queensbury pulled away to lead by as many as nine points in the second set.
However, in the third, the Bulldogs roared out to a quick 8-0 lead and staved off a Spartan rally, ending with an emphatic spike by Taylor. South High maintained control through the final set, and though Queensbury rallied to tie the score at 21, the Bulldogs finished off the win.
“We knew going in that we were going to have a sneak a few (points) from them,” said Queensbury coach Tyler Carey, whose team finished 14-5. “We wanted to get to 20-20 and really push through. We tried to handle our ebbs and flows, and we got to that point a couple of times, but then we’d miss a serve or hit it out of bounds, and the point we needed to make a difference didn’t happen.”
“I knew that tonight was not going to be any easy fight by any means, in that both teams are capable of those kinds of runs — really tough servers challenging each other on serve-receive,” Collier said.
“We honestly played so good — we made plays that we’ve never made before, we hustled for every ball, we dove, we gave everything we had till it was over,” Scarincio said.
Now the Bulldogs face a Burnt Hills team that has won 16 consecutive Section II titles.
“Burnt Hills is tough — they don’t let much hit the floor, they have phenomenal serving, they’re good at highlighting a team’s weaknesses and they run a super-fast offense,” Collier said. “So we have to really bring our ‘A’ game.”