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‘UNDERDOG’ MILLBROOK OPENS WITH WIN

Volleyball Team Sweeps O’Neill In Sectionals

HIGHLAND FALLS – Somehow, in the dubious way that Section 9 determines its seedings for playoffs based mostly on division record no matter the level of play, the four-time defending Class C volleyball champions and two-time defending state finalists were seeded fifth and last.

It’s become something of an amusing situation for the Millbrook High School volleyball team.

Embracing its role as the “underdog” – even using that as a Twitter hashtag – the No. 5 Blazers swept No. 4 James I. O’Neill on Wednesday, 3-0, to open defense of its four Section 9, Class C titles with a quarterfinal win.

Scores were 25-13, 25-10 and 25-9.

“It is what it is,” Millbrook coach Shawn Stoliker said with a laugh. “You have to play the games anyway, right? I was just disappointed that our girls didn’t get another home game.”

And they won’t – Wednesday’s semifinal is at No. 1 Spackenkill, whom the Blazers swept in a match earlier this year, and the championship match is Sunday at SUNY New Paltz.

Julia Stoliker had 21 kills, a pair of aces and eight digs to pace the Blazers as she continues to grow into her role as a freshman, and as the coach’s daughter.

“Last year was an adjustment. She was only an eighth-grader last year so I get it,” Shawn Stoliker said. “It’s been fun. She’s really starting to understand the game.”

Cecilia Dignan did her usual Cecilia Dignan thing and had 27 assists, nine digs and four aces for Millbrook. Bri McDermott had three aces and a couple of digs. And Bella Darnell chipped in with five kills and two aces.

“We came out in the first set with a little rustiness, a little sloppy,” said Stoliker, whose team was off for two weeks. “But we came together and I was impressed.”

 

 

 

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