|WELCOME TO HUDSON VALLEY SPORTS REPORT!|
|WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17|
By Rich Thomaselli
GLENS FALLS – There were little to no tears from the Millbrook High School volleyball team on Sunday after the Blazers were swept by Eden in the New York State, Class C championship match at the Glens Falls Civic Center, losing 25-7, 25-18, 25-15.
And, really, why should there be?
“There might have been some tears,” the Blazers’ Audrey Ouimet said, “but I don’t think they were over the loss. I think it was more that the season and this incredible ride was over, you know?”
“We had an amazing season,” junior setter Meredith Dignan said with a big smile. “I mean, look at this, look where we are again. To be in the state championships is incredible.”
The only unfortunate part of the ride for Millbrook was simply this – running into Eden. Short and sweet, the team from Section Six is a volleyball powerhouse. This is Eden’s fifth consecutive state championship, seven of the last eight, and 11 of the last 18. Senior Lainy Pierce, who earned tournament MVP honors, is off to Penn State.
In actuality, Eden’s Heather Holscher was the best player on the floor on Sunday with 19 kills, and it was her powerful hitting that flustered Millbrook momentarily in the 25-7 Game One loss.
“It might have been nerves, yeah, but once we got the first game under our belt I think we got it together,” Millbrook’s Amanda Critelli said. “We came back strong in the second and third games.”
The pivotal sequence came in the second game when the Blazers were tied 18-18 thanks to a big-time block at the net by senior Brittany Keenan. But Eden ripped off the next seven points to win. But Millbrook didn’t go away. At one point in Game Three, Eden coach Stephen Pierce called a timeout – the first timeout the five-time champs took all weekend.
“That in and of itself was a victory for us,” Millbrook coach Shawn Stoliker said. “We had them on the run in the second and third games, no doubt about it. We could see it in their faces that they knew they were in for a match.”
“Absolutely,” Dignan said. “But we’re not a big team. We’re short. There’s only so much we could do and, really, that’s a great team over there. Eden deserved the state championship the way they played all weekend.”