Glenn's mission four years in making
Over the course of two days inside an old Glens Falls hockey arena, Glenn transformed the state championship into its personal showcase.
After going 6-0 during pool play, the Spiders beat Pelham in the final Nov. 20, 25-12, 25-15, 25-13, to win the Class B state public schools girls volleyball title. Outside hitter Melissa Rigo had eight kills, seven blocks and nine digs and was named tournament MVP.
It marked Glenn's first state title since 2007, a lengthy wait for a program that won four in a five-year span from 2003-07.
For the crop of five seniors, they had waited long enough.
"I was just so nervous before the match," Rigo said. "I didn't know how we were going to play, but everyone stepped up."
Senior middle blocker Allison McKenna said, "This was our goal, and to do it with all these people on the team feels great."
The Spiders advanced to states following an 11th straight Long Island championship. They lost once in a non-league match to Lindenhurst; it was the lone off night in a near-perfect season.
In six pool play games at states, they surrendered an average of 12.5 points per game.
"The biggest challenge was getting off to a good start so that you control your own destiny in pool play," coach Kevin Harrington said. "When we got to 5-0, we were able to rest some of our starters in the final game."
Their unblemished mark during pool play put the rest of the state on notice, as they were one of three teams -- spread across five classes -- to go 6-0 during the tournament's opening day.
But they still felt the pressure to close out an overmatched Pelham team in the championship.
As has become the custom at Glenn, the girls enter each season with the mind-set that anything less than a state championship is a disappointment.
They had a batch of seniors who had yet to experience a state title. That added to the standard championship anxiety.
"It was just the fact that they had been there for three years [without winning]," Harrington said. "Some of them told me, the second day of the season, 'this is what we are looking for.' "
The rest of the team followed the lead of Rigo, an athletic two-way player considered among the state's best.
During the pregame warm-ups at the state final, the ferocity of her hits caused a smattering of "uh-ohs" from opposing parents.
As for the championship match, it was all Glenn, all the time, save for a 6-0 deficit in Game 3.
But they came back to finish off the sweep and one of the more dominant state tournament performances in recent years.
And the five seniors, starving for a title, had fulfilled a mission four years in the making.
"It goes by quickly," Harrington said. "The message there is not to take anything for granted. You get an opportunity, and you try to take advantage of that."