SCHENECTADY — It took four nail-biting sets before Guilderland coach Tamara Bryngelson-Eppard could breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday afternoon at Schenectady High School.
“Both teams working hard, fighting for every point, we’re just really happy that we got our first win of the season,” Bryngelson-Eppard said after Guilderland’s four-set Suburban Council win. “It puts us in a good spot moving forward. We can take a deep breath now.”
Guilderland was led by Lauren Hoyle’s 11 kills, five digs and four aces. Reagan Dennet handed out 15 assists and produced five digs.
Guilderland captured the first set, 22-25 before Schenectady evened things with a 25-21 second set win. Guilderland then took the next two sets by identical 25-21 scores for its first win of the year.
“There were nerves [heading into the match], especially after we’ve played three matches and we want to get that first win,” Bryngelson-Eppard said. “There is always that nervous energy. We’re young, we’re developing and we’re working hard, improving every day.”
Several months removed from the “Fall II” volleyball season played in March and April, Schenectady is adjusting to playing without four-year standouts in libero Savanah Petersen and setter Marissa Gannon, who were both in attendance at Tuesday’s match.
“Those are two kids that were with me for four years, graduating, leaving some pretty big gaps in the talent of the team,” Schenectady coach Ben Rosenthal said. “The kids are starting to step up. They’re finding each other.”
Junior Niomi Rogers moved into the Schenectady (1-2) serve rotation several times during the match, and often played a role bringing her squad back within reach of Guilderland.
“I just had to breath, coming from up [in the front row] and going to serve, and [teammate Kanishjoary Marrero Martinez’s] mom is all I can hear [from the stands], saying ‘Take your time, take your time,'” said Rogers, laughing.
Kaylen Hurd had 16 assists for Schenectady with Madison Petersen producing 26 digs. Meanwhile, Gelmajony Marrero Martinez’s passing became a concern for Guilderland.
“I kept saying, ‘Let’s get the ball away from her,’ because she’s too good of a passer,” Bryngelson-Eppard said. “She did a phenomenal job.”
Gelmajony Marrero Martinez, a senior captain, is another key component for this year’s Schenectady squad.
“She’s covering a lot of court, she sees the game really, really well,” Rosenthal said. “It’s been fun working with her for four years, as well, and she’s a big part of this team.”
Schenectady secured its season’s first win last week. Despite a loss Tuesday, Rosenthal saw improvement from his squad.
“Everything was super-close,” Rosenthal said. “I’m seeing play out of these guys that is really impressing me. They’re starting to trust each other as well, starting to feel out the game together.”
Set scores: 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21. Schenectady highlights: G. Marrero Martinez, 8 kills, 8 digs; K. Marrero Martinez, 8 kills, 7 digs; Petersen, 26 digs, Hurd, 16 assists. Guilderland highlights: Norgrove 17 digs, 12 kills; Hoyle, 11 kills, 4 aces, 15 digs; Dennet, 15 assists, 5 digs.