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What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Volleyball: Class B field loaded with talent

Volleyball: Class B field loaded with talent

Gloversville defeated Johnstown in a five-set match last week, an outcome which kept the Lady Bills

Gloversville defeated Johnstown in a five-set match last week, an outcome which kept the Lady Bills from achieving a perfect Foothills Council season.

“Johnstown is the favorite, but they lost their last match,” Schalmont volleyball coach Kevin Meachem noted. “It makes everybody think.”

Meachem is among several coaches thinking that this could be the year for a breakthrough. What the veteran coach knows for sure is that in order to do so, it will take several great efforts in the loaded Class B field that includes Gloversville (10-4 league), Colonial Council Patriot Division champion Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (12-4), Schuylerville (8-2) and Big 10 co-champ Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (11-1).

Johnstown (13-1) is the No. 1 seed in Class B and the bracket winner in each of the last two years.

“Of all the brackets, Class B is the most balanced, although Class C is very interesting,” said Meachem. “In our class, one through seven are tough. I don’t see a lock aside from Johnstown getting past the Ichabod Crane-Emma Willard winner.”

Those teams meet today in the lone Class B preliminary match, while four are scheduled in Class C and three are slated in Class D.

Aside from Johnstown, the other top seeds are Shenendehowa (14-2) in Class AA, Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (16-0) in Class A, Broadalbin-Perth (11-3) in Class C and Waterford-Halfmoon (11-1) in Class D. Schalmont (14-2) is among the No. 2 seeds, and is hoping for a return trip to the title match after losing to Johnston last fall.

The 15-4 overall Sabres will attempt to get there with a lineup that includes Emily Hilton, the school’s all-time leader in defensive digs with just over 1,000, and Corin Noga, the school’s career leader in stuff blocks. The Sabres make their debut Friday at home against Hudson Falls (6-8).

“We’ve got to block well and play never-say-die defense. We have to serve intelligently,” said Meachem, who guided Schalmont to the Class AA title in 2005. “We have to know the game plan and stick to it. We have to run the stuff that really works for us, and we have to be on the same page.”

Shenendehowa coach Lori Kessler likes the way her 16-3 overall Lady Plainsmen are playing heading into the tournament.

“We’re doing a nice job of keeping things fast. We know that at this time of the season you’re going up against good competition, and you need to finish points,” she said. “Defensively we’re working daily on trying to be proactive rather than reactive, and it’s getting better all the time. I’m happy with where we’re at.”

Shenendehowa was at the top of Class AA at the end of the last three tournaments after placing second in 2009.

“They know what it takes to get there now. I have an experienced group,” said Kessler, whose roster has 11 veterans led by three-year starters Hayley Macken and Taylor Murphy. “I feel confident in regards to our experience. In the playoffs there’s added pressure, and our girls have dealt with that before and been successful.”

Shenendehowa and Class AA No. 2 seed Saratoga Springs (12-4) have byes into the semifinals a week from today, as do Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake and Class A No. 2 seed Queensbury (10-4).

“We’ve got scrimmages lined up with Queensbury [today] and Burnt Hills [Monday],” said Kessler. “We’re playing competitive teams as a way to stay sharp.”

Burnt Hills has won 11 straight Section II and regional championships. The Spartans followed up their regional success with state titles in 2011 and 2012, and sport a 22-2 overall mark entering this year’s sectionals.

“My girls are very focused,” said Burnt Hills coach Gary Bynon. “They look forward to coming to the gym every day and trying to get better. That’s what we always talk about. Getting better as we go along.”

Three-time defending Class C champion Voorheesville (16-0) is the No. 2 seed behind Broadalbin-Perth. Voorheesville placed first in the Colonial Council Liberty Division, while the Class C group also includes Wasaren League champion Tamarac (9-1), Western Athletic Conference North Division winner Galway (14-0), Patroon Conference winner Greenville (15-1), Wasaren League titlist Tamarac (9-1) and Central Hudson Valley League co-champ Loudonville Christian (11-1).

CLASS AA

Quarterfinals

Friday (5 p.m.)

1. Shenendehowa (14-2), bye; 5. Albany (11-1) at 4. Bethlehem (11-5); 6. Schenectady (7-5) at 3. Columbia (12-4); 2. Saratoga Springs (12-4), bye.

Semifinals

Wednesday, Oct. 30

At Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 2

At Stillwater, 6 p.m.

———

CLASS A

Quarterfinals

Friday (5 p.m.)

1. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake (16-0), bye; 5. South Glens Falls (4-10) at 4. Niskayuna (7-9); 6. Catholic Central (7-5) at 3. Averill Park (9-7); 2. Queensbury (10-4).

Semifinals

Wednesday, Oct. 30

At Broadalbin-Perth, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Friday, Nov. 1

At Stillwater, 4 p.m.

———

CLASS B

Preliminary round

Today (5 p.m.)

9. Emma Willard (7-5) at 8. Ichabod Crane (7-9).

Quarterfinals

Friday (5 p.m.)

Emma Willard-Ichabod Crane at 1. Johnstown (13-1); 5. Schuylerville (8-2) at 4. Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons (11-1); 6. Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk (12-4) at 3. Gloversville (10-4); 7. Hudson Falls (6-8) at 2. Schalmont (14-2).

Semifinals

Wednesday, Oct. 30

At Ballston Spa, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Saturday, Nov. 2

At Stillwater, 4 p.m.

———

CLASS C

Preliminary round

Today (5 p.m.)

9. Stillwater (5-5) at 8. Hudson (14-2); 12. Catskill (10-6) at 5. Tamarac (9-1); 11. Mechanicville (9-7) at 6. Loudonville Christian (11-1); 10. Hoosic Valley (5-5) at 7. Fonda-Fultonville (12-4).

Quarterfinals

Friday (5 p.m.)

Stillwater-Hudson at 1. Broadalbin-Perth (11-3); Catskill-Tamarac at 4. Greenville (15-1); Mechanicville-Loudonville Christian at 3. Galway (14-0); Hoosic Valley-Fonda-Fultonville at 2. Voorheesville (16-0).

Semifinals

Wednesday. Oct. 30

At Schalmont, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Friday, Nov. 1

At Stillwater, 8 p.m.

———

CLASS D

Preliminary round

Today (5 p.m.)

9. Fort Plain (8-5) at 8. Hartford (7-5); 11. Schoharie (9-6) at 6. Lake George (9-3); 9. Duanesburg (9-6) at 7. Canajoharie (12-3).

Quarterfinals

Friday (5 p.m.)

Fort Plain-Hartford at 1. Waterford-Halfmoon (11-1); 5. Argyle (9-3) at 4. Maple Hill (13-3); Schoharie-Lake George at 3. Mayfield (12-2); Duanesburg-Canajoharie at 2. Fort Edward (11-1).

Semifinals

Wednesday, Nov. 30

At Saratoga Springs, 5 and 7 p.m.

Championship

Friday, Nov. 1

At Stillwater, 6 p.m.

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