CLIFTON PARK — When Rose Talty was younger she would dream of being in the big volleyball match and helping Shenendehowa win like her older sister Mary Talty did so many times.
Tuesday was one of those matches, and there was Rose Talty, on the serving line just before the Plainsmen finally put Schenectady away in a quarterfinal match of the Suburban Council tournament.
“I saw my sister do that, and I couldn’t wait to be in those games,” said Talty, whose sister played a key hitting role as a senior on Shenendehowa’s 2017 state Class AA runner-up team. “You see others do it, and you want your chance to play at that high level. It’s a goal.”
Goal achieved for Talty, and her teammate and fellow senior leader Erika Macken, who had a desire to emulate her cousins and former Shenendehowa standouts Hayley and Charlotte Macken with the way they competed and the victories they collected. Charlotte Macken was a senior libero on that 2017 edition, and, like her older sister, was known for staying cool in the most heated moments.
“I definitely think it helped watching her cousins,” Shenendehowa coach Lori Kessler said.
Erika Macken took a page from their book Tuesday after Schenectady won the first set 25-19. Shenendehowa outscored the Patriots in the next three 25-18, 25-7, 28-26 to advance to the tournament semifinals Thursday against Niskayuna.
“After the first set, I was flustered,” said Macken, who plays both setter and right outside hitter. “Coach talked to me and calmed me down, and I think the whole team settled down.”
Kessler said Macken was key to the turnaround against Schenectady with her improved demeanor and with her setting that led to a more consistent flow of kills.
“I told them we had to get it together,” Kessler said. “I told them to do what we do best, which is run our offense and be aggressive.”
Macken knew what to do.
“When I was younger, I saw that when they [Shenendehowa] ran a faster offense, it was better,” Macken said after collecting 19 assists, 11 kills and 15 defensive digs. “We picked it up. It was almost like we had a fresh start.”
Schenectady (No. 7 seed, 7-8) built a 13-0 lead in the first set, and after Shenendehowa (No. 2, 15-2) clawed within 19-18, the Patriots closed it with a 6-1 run. The second set was tight from the start, and the teams were knotted at 17 before Shenendehowa closed that one out with an 8-1 spurt.
“After being down in the first set and making a comeback, we knew we had it in us as a team as long as we settled down and played our game,” Talty said.
“It’s been a while since they were in a pressure situation,” Kessler said. “It took a little settling in.”
Schenectady made a strong bid to extend the match to five sets, with the fourth tied at 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 and 26 after a kill by Shenendehowa sophomore Emma Paliwodzinski. Talty served an ace after that, and a net ball finished the match.
“They were putting it all out there, and it paid off for them 100%,” said Talty, whose team had swept Schenectady last week. “We saw they were putting in that effort, and we felt we had to reciprocate.”
Talty, an outside hitter who will join her sister on the Le Moyne volleyball team next school year, delivered half of her 10 kills in the fourth set and also had 15 service points. Fellow senior Abby Case had nine kills and five blocks, sophomore Grace Almeida had eight kills and seven blocks, and freshman Kasia Barletta finished with 37 digs.
Schenectady junior Gelmajony Marrero had 17 kills and 17 digs, senior Marisa Gannon had 31 assists and 16 digs, and 12th-grader Savannah Petersen had 22 digs.
Set scores: 19-25, 25-18, 25-7, 28-26. Schenectady highlights: G. Marrero 17 kills, 17 digs; Gannon 31 assists, 16 digs; S. Petersen 22 digs. Shenendehowa highlights: Talty 10 kills, 15 service points; Macken 11 kills, 19 assists, 15 digs; Case 9 kills, 5 blocks; Almeida 8 kills, 7 blocks; Barletta 37 digs.