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State volleyball: Experience gives Spartans an edge

Saturday, November 17, 2012
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Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake after defeating Oswego for the high school volleyball regionals at Gloversville High School on Saturday, November 10, 2012.
Photographer: Patrick Dodson
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake after defeating Oswego for the high school volleyball regionals at Gloversville High School on Saturday, November 10, 2012.

For some members of the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls’ volleyball team, playing for a state title at the Glens Falls Civic Center must seem like a regular part of the schedule.

“We’ve been very fortunate in our trips back there to have kids with experience,” said Burnt Hills coach Gary Bynon, whose reigning state champions are in Class A pool play this afternoon. “For some of them, this is their third trip. Whether they are starters or play a specialty role in what they do, it’s important once we hit that floor to have people who have been there.”

Seniors Molly McCormack, Nat­alie Moore, Siena Wilder and Erica Ziskin are among that group of veterans this season, as are 11th-graders Lindsay Bynon and Kathleen Schurman and sophomore Jessica Dillon.

Wilder was a first-team all-state player in 2011, and Dillon had an outstanding state finals last year at outside hitter.

Bynon is counting on their exper­ience to get the Spartans through the starts and stops inherent in pool play.

“How many sports are there where you get to go out and play state-level competition, sit for an hour, and come back and do it again?” he asked. “That day is such a mental thing. It’s how you handle it, and how you approach every point in every game.”

After their annual running of the Suburban Council table, the Spartans won their 11th straight Section II title (and 15th in 16 years) before earning their 11th consecutive trip to the final four with a regional victory. They will face off with Panas of Section I, Pittsford Sutherland of Section V and another 2011 returner, Kings Park of Section XI, beginning at 3 p.m.

Johnstown (Class B), Voorheesville (Class C) and Hartford (Class D) are also in action today, playing in the morning session. The Beth­lehem boys will play in the Division I final four, beginning at 8:15 p.m.

Bynon is familiar with his three opponents in pool play, which will send two teams to Sunday’s championship match.

“Once again, the ‘A’s are anybody’s thing to win,” said Bynon, whose team went 5-1 in the pool round last season. “Year after year, it’s one of the most competitive classes.

“Panas was down, 2-1, in its reg­ional semi Monday and won, then in the regional final, they were down, 2-1, 20-13 in game four, and here they are. Pitt Sutherland has one of the best players in the state, Lisa Schirmer, who was the MVP as a freshman when they beat us in the finals two years ago.

“And for Kings Park to get here, after everything the Long Island teams have been through, is remarkable.”

Bynon’s club is mostly sticking to the basics.

“We’re not a team that’s going to wow you,” he said. “We serve and play defense. You’ve got to be ready for the ball to come back, and be able to return our serve.

“This is a steady group of kids, who do well with adjustments throughout matches. We try to come back and be better every round.”

Bynon has made one major adjustment this season, going to a two-setter system with Dillon and Ziskin.

“It allows Jess Dillon to hit more for us,” said Bynon. “She’s always been trained to play as a setter.”

Bynon credits Ziskin for his team’s consistent play.

“Erica Ziskin has been our unsung hero,” he said. “She’s not going to have the big stats, but she starts us off every game with her serving. She’s improved so much as a setter.”

GIRLS

Pool play

Class A

Begins at 3 p.m.

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Panas, Kings Park, Pittsford Sutherland.

Class B

Begins at 8:30 a.m.

Johnstown, John Glenn, Skaneateles, Pelham.

Class C

Begins at 8:30 a.m.

Voorheesville, Eden, Babylon, Millbrook.

Class D

Begins at 8:30 a.m.

Hartford, Lafayette, Haldane, Ellicottville.

BOYS

Pool play

Division I

Begins at 8:15 p.m.

Bethlehem, Baldwinsville, McQuaid, Lindenhurst.

 
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