Spartans make it 10 volleyball titles in a row

Senior Natalie Ziskin delivered 41 assists and three blocks as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake beat South

Senior Natalie Ziskin delivered 41 assists and three blocks as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake beat South Glens Falls, 3-1, for the Section II Class A volleyball championship Friday night.

The Spartans won the first two games, 25-16 and 25-15, before losing, 29-27. They claimed the crown in the fourth game, 25-14.

It marks Burnt Hills’ 10th straight sectional volleyball title and 17th overall. The Spartans have reached the championship match in 15 straight seasons.

Ironically, South Glens Falls was the last team to beat Burnt Hills in a championship, and that took place in the 2001 Class B event.

“I’m speechless. We knew we had to fight tonight. They [South Glens Falls] had an amazing season. We knew they were a very talented team,” said Ziskin who won her fifth sectional title. “We tried to work on our fast offense and speed and attack right back at them. We have a lot more experience. We’re used to each other. We know each others tendencies.”

Burnt Hills had control in the first game, leading, 13-10, when Ziskin scored four points for a 17-10 advantage and eventually posting the victory.

The second game had Burnt Hills get in front, 4-0, thanks to Natalie Moore’s serving. The Spartans held an 11-9 edge when Siena Wilder went to work and helped increase the margin to 17-9. The Bulldogs never recovered.

Despite the 2-0 deficit in the set, South Glens Falls didn’t quit. Burnt Hills was on top, 11-9, and Moore had rattled off six consecutive points, but the Bulldogs kept chipping away until they tied the game, 23-23. There were four more ties before Glens Falls prevailed.

Burnt Hills gradually moved in front, 10-7, in the fourth game. And again, Moore stepped up and delivered seven straight points and a 17-7 advantage. The Spartans kept their composure, felt another sectional title just around the corner and the celebration began.

“They’re a great program. Our kids have a lot of heart,” said South Glens Falls head coach Jared Davis. “I think, overall, the group of seniors I’ve got is a special group. Kayla Barber is obviously a big player at the net. My setter, Lindsay Sullivan is just all over the court and she gets to balls most people don’t. And they’ve really done a nice job leading the team. Jenna Stewart has been serving 100 percent for us, so her serving is huge. She’s got a great swing up at the net.”

Lizzy Morton had a strong game for Burnt Hills with 17 kills and eight blocks, while Wilder contributed 41 digs.

“It feels great. They’re [South Glens Falls] a great team. It’s awesome, no greater experience. We were expecting a fight and got one. We knew they were going to be good. I was a little worried after the third game. I just wanted to be focused,” said Morton.

“We came out and executed what we wanted to do perfectly. That is an awfully good team over there,” said Burnt Hills head coach Gary Bynon, referring to South Glens Falls. “We never felt comfortable. They’re kind of tough. I’m so proud of these kids.”

Kaitlyn Valade had 11 kills and seven digs to collect her fourth sectional title.

“It feels great. We played the fourth game with a lot of fire. It’s a great feeling to go undefeated and be the sectional champion. It’s a privilege,” she said. “Our concentration in the fourth game really made us focus. We had a good run by Natalie Moore.”

For South Glens Falls, Sullivan had eight digs, four blocks and 24 assists; Barber eight blocks, 11 digs, and 13 kills; Stewart was 100 percent serving and Kristen Matuszak had 16 digs.

Categories: High School Sports

Leave a Reply