Volleyball: Spartans face big hurdle
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake will go after its 12th straight regional volleyball title today against an Oswego team that it swept for the 11th.
The Class A rematch at 2 p.m. will take place following the fourth consecutive Class AA meeting at noon between Shenendehowa and Baldwinsville at Cicero-North Syracuse High School.
“We saw them play in late September, and they’re a solid volleyball team,” Burnt Hills coach Gary Bynon said of Oswego. “They’ve got all of their players back from last year including a good hitter and a good setter.
“They’ve played the better teams from Section III like Baldwinsville and West Genesee, and we’re not going to go in thinking it’s going to be a breeze.”
Oswego (10-7) beat Fulton for the Section III title in three sets, while Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (24-4) swept Queensbury to get out of Section II once again. The Spartans followed up five of their string of regional wins with state championships, including titles last year and in 2011.
The Spartans have won 14 regionals in all.
“When we get out there, I’m going to tell the girls, ‘You’re three games away from getting to the state final four. That’s all you think about right now,’ ” said Bynon.
Though Shenendehowa lost to Baldwinsville for the third time in 2012, it was never more competitive, scoring 22 points in the middle set and 21 in the others.
“We’re going to put up our best fight,” said Shenendehowa coach Lori Kessler. “I feel we have the talent and mental experience to play at a high level.”
Shenendehowa (18-3) defended its Section II title with a 3-1 comeback win over Saratoga Springs, while Baldwinsville (16-0) captured its sixth straight Section III crown with a sweep of West Genesee.
The Bees used their 2010 regional win over Shenendehowa as a springboard toward the state championship.
In regional finals at Gloversville today, Johnstown (21-5) and Beekmantown (Section VII, 17-4) will play a Class B match at noon, Voorheesville (19-0) and AuSable Valley (Section VII, 25-3) will play a Class C match at 2 and Waterford-Halfmoon (16-2) and Chateaugay (Section X, 20-0) will play a Class D match at 4.
Waterford-Halfmoon, a first-time regional participant, joined Shenendehowa and Burnt Hills for a scrimmage Thursday.
“We all represent our schools, but we also represent Section II,” said Bynon after the scrimmage in his gym. “This was to keep us sharp and help each other get a little bit better. At this point, we’re all rooting for each other.”
Johnstown won a five-set marathon against Gloversville to secure the Section II title, while Voorheesville beat Broadalbin-Perth, 3-1, and Waterford-Halfmoon topped Mayfield, 3-2, in its first championship appearance.
In the Section VII-X regional semifinals, Beekmantown beat Franklin Academy, 3-0; AuSable Valley beat Potsdam, 3-0; and Chateaugay beat Lake Placid, 3-0.
Regional winners advance to the state final four Nov. 16-17 at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Voorheesville was the 2012 state Class C runner-up.
In the boys’ regionals Friday night, Aaron Caark finished with 16 kills, and Kevin Mahar had 38 assists to lead Bethlehem to a 25-22, 25-21, 25-18 victory over Oswego.