Pelham’s magical ride ends in state final
It’s been a storybook season for the Pelham volleyball team. The Pelicans won their first Section 1 title in program history. They also defeated perennial powerhouse and defending champion Hendrick Hudson twice, including a win in the Section 1 Class B semifinals. On top of that, they claimed a regional title and went on to reach the Class B state championship game.
But in the state final, Pelham ran into a juggernaut in Section 11’s John Glenn and fell in straight-sets (25-12, 25-15, 25-13) on Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“They were so solid and so deep at every position,” Pelham coach Mark Finegan said of John Glenn. “We had a couple decent runs, but whenever we did they just had so many answers. It was just overwhelming. They had dynamic hitters, great setting, terrific passing and some of the best serving we’ve seen all year.
“It was a great ride and we lost to a terrific team today. They were very deserving champions.”
A day earlier in pool play, Pelham dropped both sets to John Glenn (25-15, 25-15), so they knew they were in for a very difficult contest in the state final. The Pelicans went 4-2 in pool play to reach the championship round.
Finegan believes that John Glenn played them even tougher in the championship game after getting to see what the Pelicans (23-2) were about in pool play.
“After having a look at us, they were able to set up their blocks a little more and take away our strengths,” Finegan said. “They’re just a real good team — one of the best I’ve ever seen. We knew we had to play a flawless game to win. I thought we played pretty well at times. There was just too much on the other side of the net.”
Pelham senior setter Lauren Keller finished with 17 assists and three kills. She was named to the all-tournament team. Junior outside hitter Helen Gandler, who had five kills, also made the all-tournament squad.
Middler hitter Tori Bowser and outside hitter Alyssa Luciano, both juniors, each finished with five kills.
Despite the loss, Finegan knows his team has plenty of memories to cherish from this season.
“It was a dream season for us in every sense of the word,” the coach said. “Our goal all along was to win the section and it just kind of snowballed from there. We just kept winning. To get the two wins in regionals to get to the state final four and then play as well as we did yesterday, it’s just really a dream come true for all of us.”
Follow Rob DiAntonio on Twitter @MSGV_RJD