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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, October 15, 2009

Lady Birds volleyball digging for another sectional title

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– The Lady Birds’ volleyball team is hoping to follow in the footsteps of a team from the recent past.

Voorheesville finished third in the state in Class C in 2007 and Head Coach Sandy Vorse said back then that she “hopes future players will look back at this team and try to match it.”

Vorse may have found her closest match with the 2009 squad. The Birds are tied with powerhouse Ravena at the top of the Patriot Division in the Colonial Council with an 8-2 record, 9-2 overall.

“We had quite a ride in 2007 and we couldn’t pull it together against Lake George last year,” said Vorse before a home match against Ravena on Tuesday. Voorheesville lost to Lake George in the Class C final a year ago. “The personality and young age of this team is similar to the one of two years ago. I think we can make a push,” she said.

Vorse said that the team mantra is still the same: “Not about me, not about you, about the team,” she said.

Senior Shayna Morse, who was on the 2007 team, feels a closer bond this time around. “If someone does bad, then we all do,” she said before the Ravena match. “These girls are so close together. It’s all about psyching each other up. We talk as much as possible on the court because dead moments are bad news.”

Even though Voorheesville lost to Ravena on Tuesday, 25-14, 25-10, 25-15, the Blackbirds had already beaten Ravena on Sept. 15 –– the first win over Ravena in a long time. The Indians are Colonial Council champions five times running.

“We beat them at their gym and it was their first loss in a while,” Vorse said. “Ravena has a lot of depth, so it was nice to finally beat them. We plan on going the distance against them every time.”

“Beating Ravena twice in the same year would be crazy because they haven’t lost to a single team twice in five years,” said senior Kelsey DeZalia before the match. “Tears will flow if we beat them again. We want it bad.”

The team is honing its skills in the high-level competition.

The Birds participated in the Showcase of Champions Girls Invitational at Mt. Holyoke Community College in Springfield, Mass. on Saturday. It was sponsored by the Volleyball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield.

“I’m always searching for tournaments that have lots of competition,” said Vorse. Voorheesville was one of 12 teams from Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and New York. “Also, I wanted my girls to tour the Hall to keep a love for the sport and see where volleyball came from,” Vorse said.

The Lady Birds came in second place behind Central Catholic of Massachusetts. The team closed the tournament out with a loss to New Bedford, Mass.

“I could have adjusted things to beat them, but it was nice to be there in the first place,” said Vorse. “We got some much-needed experience.”


DeZalia and Morse are the only seniors on the team and the young spirit is a driving force. Voorheesville’s setter, Libby Bjork, is an eighth-grader.

“I get a little worried about the long volleys because the girls are so young,” said Vorse. “But, they’re working on staying with the ball when times get tough.”

Mariel McGinnis, Rebecca Bablin, Morgan Vandervort, Ellie Wagner, Morse, DeZalia, and Bjork were the starting seven against Ravena on Tuesday. Sarah Dykstra, Alexis Hargrave, Anna Feller, Brittanie Denman, and Rachel Dykstra also share time.

Vandervort is the other returning player from the 2007 championship team. “When she’s hot, the rest of the team usually is,” Vorse said.

With three matches left in the season, the Blackbirds are getting a lot of support. The exciting play is attracting the fans.

“The heart of this team is really fun to watch,” said Vorse. “They never give up, they make outstanding plays, and they have a lot of drive. We don’t go overlooked around here. Volleyball is a monster in the gym.”

DeZalia told The Enterprise that the team is ready to “release the beast” on the court. “We need to push the envelope to keep Voorheesville volleyball on the map,” she said.

“Focusing on the game of volleyball is the main thing,” Vorse said. “Whether we win or lose, we’ll learn something about the game and about ourselves.”

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