GLENS FALLS – Already with a pair of New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B championships in its recent past, the Westhill girls volleyball team nearly added a third.
Only Lansing, from Section IV, ended up preventing the Warriors from going all the way to the top during last weekend’s state final four at Glens Falls’ Cool Insuring Arena, while West Genesee saw its dreams of a first-ever state Class AA title halted in the semifinal round.
As it arrived at Glens Falls, Westhill was burning to equal the titles it won in 2018 and 2019, and motivated by the memory of just missing out on reaching the title game in 2022.
Instead of the round-robin format of previous years, there was now one best-of-five match in the semifinals, and on Nov. 18 the Warriors took on Center Moriches, from Long Island, in Saturday’s semifinals.
It was the Red Devils taking a close and exciting opening set 26-24, but instead of getting discouraged, Westhill roared to a 25-14 win in the second set to get even.
The third set was far more pivotal, as it turned out. After numerous ties and lead changes, at 24-24 the Warriors gained the serve and then closed out that set 26-24.
Once out in front, the fourth set went nearly as quickly as the second. By a 25-15 margin, Westhill closed out Center Moriches and made it to the championship round.
Ava Baty’s big day included 30 assists, six kills, four aces and 26 digs, nearly equaling Alice Bender’s 27 digs as Sophia Johnson added 18 digs. Up front, Eva Tarolli, with 13 kills, led a well-balanced front line as Alison Lancette had 11 kills, Sofia Dimovski eight kills to go with 13 digs and Jocelyn Caputo matching Baty’s six kills.
Meanwhile, Lansing was sweeping Section VI’s Southwestern in the other semifinal. A day later, with the state title on the line, the Bobcats would prove unstoppable.
A quick opening set went 25-13 in Lansing’s favor. Then the Bobcats rolled 25-15 through the second set and, in the third, thwarted the Warriors’ chances to extend the match, closing it out 25-17.
It still proved a great 20-3 season for Westhill, which coincided with what West Genesee was doing in Class AA, earning both a sectional title and its first-ever regional championship in order to make it to Glens Falls.
Once there, Long Island’s Long Beach awaited in a state semifinal on Saturday that ended in three sets, but played far closer than the result.
A 25-22 first-set win by the Marines was as lopsided as it got. In both the second and third sets, both teams would have multiple opportunities to close it out, yet were unable to do so.
At 26-26 in the second, Long Beach got the serve and were able to win the set 28-26, and did the same in the third, breaking a 27-27 tie before getting match point.
Claire DeVore put up 11 kills and seven blocks, Ella Bickering adding seven kills. Cami Zajac had five kills to go with 13 digs as Colleen Barry managed 14 digs.
Aside from her 14 digs, Sidney Hamilton had nine assists as Sonya Dunham earned 14 assists and 15 digs. Isabella Vallely finished with three blocks as WG finished at 16-4 overall. Long Beach went on to drop the state final Sunday to Section V’s Webster Schroeder.