Brielle Lazzari served for the final 24 points when the Schenectady girls’ volleyball team blanked Bishop Maginn in the first set of an eventual Big 10 sweep last week.
“Once something good happens, that lights a fire in everyone,” said Schenectady coach Danielle Madia. “Volleyball is like that. You get momentum going your way.”
Lazzari and the rest of the Lady Patriots have had momentum on their side more often than not through five matches. They’ve won four of them, including a season-starting sweep of Troy, last year’s Big 10 champion.
The team has only four players who saw varsity action last season in Lazzari and fellow seniors Tanaia Medley, Tammara Brandon and Kristen St. Andrews.
“I have a young team. I have girls in their second and third year playing, but they’re athletic, they want to win, and they’re willing to learn,” said Madia. “They’re an eager group, and they’re easily molded.”
The Lady Patriots are quick to adjust, too.
“They’re willing to change. They’re willing to do what needs to be done. We switch things up depending on the situation,” said Madia. “If a team is hitting a lot or tipping a lot, we’ll change our
Player roles have changed, as well, as Madia has experimented to find effective combinations. Her cast includes senior Nicole Donadio, juniors Nyaisha Clay and SiLay Lockett, and sophomores Sara DeFruscio, Jennifer Laven, Camille Nowak and Cy’Anne Frazier.
“They’re willing to put on different hats. That helps,” said Schenectady’s third-year coach, who played at Schalmont. “We don’t have girls who are set in their ways. They’ll play a different position if it will help the team.”
Besides Bishop Maginn and Troy, Schenectady has beaten Catholic Central and Amsterdam, while losing to Albany. Schenectady went 7-5 in the league last season, and finished 8-8 overall after a quarterfinal loss to eventual champion Shenendehowa in the Section II Class AA tournament.
“We don’t talk about down the road. We talk about what we have to handle the next day,” said Madia. “If we see a girl in the paper had 20 aces, we’ll work on serve receive.”
Bishop Maginn had a difficult time handing Lazzari’s serves, when the Lady Patriots prevailed, 25-0, 25-13, 25-12. Lazzari finished with match with 36 service points and 22 aces.
“She has the strongest serve,” said Madia. “It’s hard at you, low on the net and it spirals. That’s the ultimate serve right there.”
Lazzari served for all 25 points in a set while competing in a junior varsity match against Notre Bishop Gibbons during the 2011 season.
Whiz Kids coach dies
Bill Kalbaugh, coach of the Mechanicville High School “Whiz Kids,” passed away last Saturday in Elmira just shy of his 92nd birthday.
Kalbaugh directed the Mechanicville boys’ basketball team from 1948 through 1953 before winning 297 games in a 30-year run at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
His 1951-52 all-underclassmen Mechanicville team went 20-0, and captured the sectional Class B title with a 38-36 overtime win against Albany’s Philip Schuyler. The “Whiz Kids” ran their winning streak to 30 games the following season before losing to Scotia, 68-67, but ran off eight straight victories to close out the regular season.
Mechanicville capped that campaign with a 61-45 win over Watervliet in the Class B championship game.
Kalbaugh began his run with the RPI men the following season, and led the Engineers to seven league championships and four NCAA tournament tournament appearances.
Kalbaugh graduated from Mechanicville High School and Springfield College, and played in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization. He is a member of the RPI Athletic Hall of Fame (1986), the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame (2005) and the Capital District Basketball Hall of Fame (2009).
LaPlant nets nine
Brittany LaPlant’s nine goals last week in Queensbury’s 13-0 Foothills Council win over Hudson Falls are believed to be a New York State Public High School Athletic Association single-game record for girls’ soccer.
LaPlant played only half of the game while topping the eight goals Tracy Jarosinski scored for Holley in a 1988 contest.