SARATOGA SPRINGS — Even though it was considered unlikely during the preseason, the road map to a sectional championship game existed for Hudson Falls.
Ask the Tigers why their trip to a fifth consecutive sectional final was considered so unlikely to everyone except themselves and they’ll be the first to tell you they heard all the doubters.
Hudson Falls lost nine seniors from a loaded 2017 team that fell in the state final. With only four seniors and a plethora of underclassmen this year, the Tigers were an afterthought to make a playoff run.
Then the upsets began.
Seeded sixth, Hudson Falls beat third-seeded Johnstown, then No. 7 seed Bishop Gibbons to reach yet another final. But the run died there.
Saturday at Saratoga Springs High School, Broadalbin-Perth beat Hudson Falls 3-0 in a Class B championship of the Section II Volleyball Tournament. It is B-P’s first sectional title in three years.
“I’m so proud of our team for getting to this point,” Tigers coach Sarah Carney said. “After losing so many seniors last year, seeing this current roster step up the way they did makes me proud.”
“There was a lot of hard work and I credit that to them more than any team I have ever coached. I knew what talent they had and that it was there waiting to be unlocked, but I think they surpassed even their most wild dreams.”
The Patriots dominated a night that belonged to them from the start. After losing to Hudson Falls in this very game two years in a row, the Patriots sought revenge and got every ounce of it.
Winning in straight sets, 25-17, 25-14, and 25-16, the Tigers could not contain B-P’s speed and power at the net. Led by Foothills MVP Eliana Fraser, the Patriots fiercely attacked until the section crown was theirs.
But that did not stop Tigers senior captain Carley Toole from smiling wide after her team was awarded its runner-up plaque.
“We had a lot of doubters coming into this season,” Toole said while proudly holding the Tigers’ plaque. “Those nine seniors last year made our team so special and so good. So just making it to the sectional finals, because over half the team is new and considering everything, it is so amazing to be here.”
Playing in a game few thought they’d make, Hudson Falls had nothing to lose and played like it in the third set. At one point, the Tigers led 9-7 and it felt as if Hudson Falls was going to push the series to at least a fourth set.
But Fraser started bouncing out of the gym and spiked her way to the win.
Hudson Falls will graduate four seniors, including Toole. But the libero loves what the future of the Tigers holds.
“I hope they learned to always stay together and to always be together,” Toole said of her younger teammates. “This is about playing your hardest and not giving up because you can do so many things if you just never give up.”