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Sports Archives The Altamont Enterprise, November 27, 2011
Returning to state semifinals
By Jordan J. Michael
VOORHEESVILLE The Lady Blackbirds are returning to the illustrious volleyball courts of Glens Falls Civic Center. Will the results be different?
Voorheesville carried its undefeated record to the Class C state finals in 2010, losing to Falconer in four sets. That loss crushed a community, but this year’s team restored hope. The Blackbirds are hungry and as confident as ever.
Voorheesville hasn’t dropped a set in the playoffs, but it was tested by Salmon River last Thursday. On Saturday in Plattsburgh, the Birds crushed AuSable Valley (25-6, 25-5, and 25-8) to earn its second consecutive trip to Glens Falls for the Class C state semifinals.
“We’re just really excited,” said first-year Head Coach Ashley Swint this week. “This is huge. All these games have been really exciting.”
This Saturday, Voorheesville will play two sets each against Rhinebeck, Eden, and Mattituck. The top two teams advance to Sunday’s final at 2 p.m. Saturday’s events start at 2:30 p.m.
Voorheesville’s defense always gets a touch on the ball and its offense routinely finds empty space on the floor. The Lady Blackbirds block well, hit like hammers, and keep the energy level high.
“You have to know where the spots are,” said senior Sarah Dykstra after last Thursday’s win over Salmon River. “Finding space is definitely a big part of our success. Sometimes, you just see it.”
Dykstra told The Enterprise that Voorheesville is extremely focused these days, and maybe more talented than last year. The team has more depth off the bench.
“We have so much talent,” Dykstra said. “We’re really excited to go back and see if we can be first.”
Swint said that the Blackbirds play against AuSable Valley was “phenomenal.” Voorheesville’s opponent couldn’t get by Caroline Bablin in the middle and had a hard time keeping up with the Birds’ faster paced offense.
“I thought their heads may have gotten a little big during the season, but they’ve come back down,” Swint said of her 11 players, six of whom were on the team in 2010. “Not cocky, just confident. They’re ready to go.”
Voorheesville scrimmaged Burnt Hills on Tuesday because “the team just wants to play,” Swint said. Burnt Hills will be playing at Glens Falls in Class A on Saturday.
“It can only have a positive effect,” said Swint of the scrimmaging. “It’s good to see a high level like that. The girls want to be competitive against them.”
The Lady Birds had to erase deficits in each set against the scrappy Salmon River team, but Voorheesville stays cool in tough situations. Dykstra said that Swint is usually the one that is “freaking out.”
“We dig ourselves a hole sometimes, but we get our minds back into it,” said Dykstra.
Mentality will be an issue on Saturday. Circumstance will be different.
“We’re so ready to go,” Swint said. “It’s hard waiting a whole week, but I think it’ll be worth it.”