BH-BL’s Pelletier bound for Springfield

Mike Pelletier is going from one powerhouse volleyball program to another.

Mike Pelletier is going from one powerhouse volleyball program to another.

The 6-foot-3 outside hitter, who helped Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake reach the regional finals in each of his three varsity seasons, has decided to attend Springfield College, the reigning Division III national champion.

Springfield is ranked No. 1 on the Bison/AVCA Division III men’s poll, and will be seeking its sixth national title this spring. Pride coach Charlie Sullivan has guided his teams to four of the college’s five national titles, the others coming in 2001, 2002 and 2003.

“I chose Springfield mainly because of the high level of comp­etition, and its past reputation for excellence,” said Pelletier, who last fall was selected the Suburban Council regular-season and tournament most valuable player. “My dream is to be a national champion, and I am going to strive to accomplish my goal.”

With Pelletier in its lineup, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake put together a 97-7 record, won three Suburban Council division and tournament championships, twice placed second at the regionals and won the title in 2007. Pelletier had the match-ending kill in that regional final against Orchard Park.

“The last three years, we’ve had a great run, and Mike was right in the middle of it,” said BH-BL coach Paul Sander. “He has a good vert­ical jump, he’s quick and he’s very good defensively. He’s athletic and has a lot of court sense. That all adds up to being a top player.”

Pelletier had 563 kills as a senior with a .477 hitting percentage. In his career, he amassed 936 kills and had a .431 hitting percentage, which rank fourth and second, respectively, in the program’s history.

“He has dedicated a lot of time to the sport,” Sander said of the 17-year-old high honors student. “He loves the sport.”

Pelletier had narrowed his collegiate decision down to Division I George Mason, Division III Nazareth and Springfield. Springfield, with just two seniors on its roster, is 7-0 against Division III teams and 12-6 overall.

“As for playing time, nothing is guaranteed, but what is stressed is the hardest workers get the most playing time,” Pelletier said. “I believe I can be one of those players.”

Christina Pelletier, Mike’s twin sister, has committed to Nazareth. The Suburban Council first-team all-star helped BH-BL (22-3) win its 21st straight league title and its seventh consecutive Section II and regional championships last season.

The outside hitter played three varsity seasons, and is also a high honors student.

Football realignment

Six schools, including Niskayuna and Lansingburgh, are moving to a different class, three other schools are shifting to a different division and Ichabod Crane is joining the varsity ranks for the 2009 Section II football season.

Niskayuna is moving from Class AA to Class A after its six-win season in 2008, and Lansingburgh is moving from Class A to Class B, where it won three sectional titles from 2002-05. Cairo-Durham (B to C), Taconic Hills (B to C), Lake George (C to D) and Canajoharie (D to C) are also switching classes based on school enrollment figures.

Lake George requested to compete against the Class D schools in 2008 and went undefeated, but was not eligible for postseason play because of its Class C status.

The Class D group, now with nine schools including Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Sar­atoga Catholic, will not be split into two divisions, as was the format in 2008.

Bethlehem is moving from the Class AA Empire Division to the Liberty Division, while Hoosic Valley and Tamarac are both moving from the Class C South Division to the North Division.

Ichabod Crane will compete in the Class B Reinfurt Division.

The 2009 season begins on Friday, Sept. 4, with defending Section II Class AA champ LaSalle playing at Saratoga Springs and reigning Section II Class A champ Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake hosting Scotia-Glenville.

2009 Section II Divisions

Class AA

Empire Division: Albany, Ballston Spa, CBA, Guilderland, Saratoga Springs, Shenendehowa. Liberty Division: Beth­lehem, Colonie, Columbia, LaSalle, Schen­ectady, Shaker.

Class A

Southeast Division: Averill Park, Bishop Maginn, Mohonasen, Niskayuna, Scotia-Glenville, Troy. Northwest Division: Amsterdam, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, Glens Falls, Gloversville, Queensbury, South Glens Falls.

Class B

Reinfurt Division: Albany Academy, Cohoes, Hudson, Ichabod Crane, Lansingburgh, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk. West Division: Broadalbin-Perth, Cobleskill-Richmondville, Hudson Falls, Johnstown, Schalmont.

Class C

North Division: Cambridge, Corinth, Granville, Hoosic Valley, Hoosick Falls, Mechanicville, Schuylerville, Stillwater, Tamarac. South Division: Cairo-Durham, Canajoharie, Catholic Central, Chatham, Coxsackie-Athens, Fonda-Fultonville, Taconic Hills, Voorheesville, Watervliet.

Class D

Fort Edward, Greenwich, Lake George, Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons, Rensselaer, Salem, Saratoga Catholic, Warrensburg, Whitehall.

Goverski steps down

Blain Goverski has stepped down as Catholic Central’s varsity boys’ basketball coach after four seasons at his alma mater.

The Crusaders had their greatest success under Goverski during the 2007-08 season when they tied for third place in the Big 10 (11-5), and went 16-6 overall behind standouts Devin Grimes and Jordan Gettings. The Crusaders went 5-16 this season, and 38-49 over the last four seasons, which included three sectional wins.

Catholic Central varsity girls’ coach Christine LaBombard announced her retirement last week, ending a 16-season run that included five first-place finishes in the Big 10, a pair of Section II titles, two regional titles and a state champ­ionship in 2002. LaBombard’s teams went 260-104.

DeBono to WNEC

Schenectady High School swimmer Jillian DeBono, a two-time captain and holder of six team records, is headed to Western New England College.

DeBono competed for six varsity seasons, and qualified for the Section II championship meet in each of them. She helped the Patriots put together their two finest seasons in 2005 (8-1 Aqua League, 10-2 overall) and 2008 (7-2, 9-5).

DeBono was selected the Patriots’ most valuable performer as a freshman in 2005 when she set team records in the 100 free (57.95), 100 back (1:06.74) and 500 free (5:48.23). She had knee surgery as a sophomore, and bounced back to complete a successful scholastic career.

DeBono went out on a high note at the sectionals as a partic­ipant on two school record-setting relays (200 medley 2:05.33; 200 free 1:51.02).

State basketball news

Senior guard Brandon Triche of state Class A public school champion Jamesville-DeWitt has been selected the Gatorade New York Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year. Triche had 12 points, eight rebounds, four assists and four steals in Jamesville-DeWitt’s 77-75 overtime win against Peekskill Sunday as the Red Rams secured their second straight NYSPHSAA title at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Triche, who will attend Syracuse University, was named the tourn­ament most valuable player for the second year in a row. The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging 22.3 points, 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds heading this weekend’s Federation Tournament of Champions at the Civic Center. . . .

The Federation boys’ field also includes defending champions Abraham Lincoln (Class AA) and Collegiate (Class B). The girls’ field features Murry Bergtraum (Class AA), which has won two straight titles and five since 2002. . . .

Senior guard Megan Olsen scored 10 points in Bethlehem’s 43-39 NYSPHSAA Class AA semifinal win over Kingston to boost her career total to 1,002, and added 21 against Copiague. Olsen is the Eagles’ first 1,000-point scorer since Nicole Conway in 1998 (1,267 points), and its fifth in all, with Anita Kaplan (1991 graduate, 2,445 points), Julie Francis (1989, 1,091) and Kim Zornow (1985, 1,041) also among the group. . . .

Maple Hill senior guards Jaime Schultz and Trent Tibbitts were selected to the all-tournament team after the Wildcats’ 61-55 loss to Avon in Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class C title game. Schultz produced a career-high 32 points in a 77-51 semifinal win over Onondaga, and Tibbitts scored 16 points in each game.

Here and There

— Shenendehowa crew team members Abby Knight (Wisconsin), Jennifer McKay (Syracuse), Laura Neely (Bucknell), Patrick Ballantyne (Franklin Pierce) and Ian Fisher (U.S. Naval Academy) made their future destinations official this week by signing with their respective schools.

— Columbia’s girls’ varsity indoor track team earned a NYSPHSAA Scholar/Athlete Team award with a combined classroom average of 93.05 this winter. The Blue Devils were inadvertently left off the award list that ran in last Saturday’s Gazette.

Categories: High School Sports

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