Haldane dominates en route to state title
After falling to Section 6’s Randolph in the NYS Class D championship game last season, the Haldane volleyball team was on a mission to get back to that point and reverse its fate.
The Blue Devils did just that. And they didn’t just win, they dominated.
Haldane captured its first state title since 2007 and third in program history with a straight-set victory (25-19, 25-22, 25-21) over Randolph in the Class D state championship game on Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“This was a big goal of there’s and they were finally able to accomplish it,” said coach Melissa Rossano, who also won a state title with Haldane as a player in 1998. “After losing last year, they wanted to come back and beat them this time. It’s an unbelievable feeling that they were able to do that.”
Haldane seldom trailed in any of the three sets.
“I think everything we’ve done all season finally came together and we clicked as one cohesive unit,” Rossano said. “We played unbelievable defense. They had one big hitter and my team was digging the ball left and right. We were hitting very well and working well together as a team.”
After losing in the state final last season, the Blue Devils weren’t about to let that happen again.
“I think we’re just more experienced,” said senior setter Dana Solit, who was named to the all-tournament team. “That was the first time we were all up together at states as a team (last year). We knew what we were coming up against [this season] and we were able to figure out what we needed to do to win. We just wanted it this year.”
Coming into the game, the Blue Devils were confident after defeating Randolph Saturday in pool play (25-18, 27-15).
“It gave us a lot of confidence because we didn’t know how they were going to be this year,” said Solit, who finished with 18 assists, three aces and five digs. “Everything was working so well together today. We were playing really good defense.”
Junior Lauren Etta was named tournament MVP. She recorded 15 kills and 16 assists. Senior outside hitter Kelsey Flaherty had 10 kills and 11 digs.
The Blue Devils (19-2) did not drop a set throughout the entire Section 1 and state tournament.
“It just goes to show what the kids can accomplish when they work together as a team,” the coach said.
Haldane will graduate some talented players like Solit, Flaherty and defensive specialist A.J. Curto.
“Kelsey Flaherty is a big asset as an outside hitter and a defensive player,” Rossano said. “She’ll definitely be missed for her leadership and skill. Dana Solit is a setter and that affects the whole team when one of the setters graduates. A.J. Curto is great on defense. It’s a big loss to lose them, but I think the underclassmen on our team will be willing to step it up and do their part next year.”
To end her career as a state champion is something Solit will never forget.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “We’ve been working hard all season and it really paid off today.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD