Winning never gets old for the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls’ volleyball program, which heads into every fall campaign with huge championship expectations.
Head coach Gary Bynon claims every season is special in its own way, but he had to admit that this is one he will never forget.
With his daughter, Lindsay, in the lineup for her last go-around, BH-BL blanked Queensbury, 25-14, 25-19, 25-16, to capture the Section II Class A crown Friday afternoon at Stillwater High School’s Mike Lilac Gymnasium. It was the 12th straight sectional title and 19th overall for the Bynon-led Spartans, who have won the Section II championship in 16 out of the last 17 years.
BH-BL, now 24-4, has also won 11 regional championships and five state crowns (2002, 2004, 2005, 2011 and 2012) under Bynon’s leadership. It’s the second straight year that BH-BL defeated Queensbury, also nicknamed the Spartans, in the final.
Burnt Hills advances to the regionals next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cicero-North Syracuse.
“This wasn’t just another title to me,” said Bynon while fighting back tears. “We’ve won 19 or 20 of them down through the years. It’s hard to keep track. But every group makes it special. It doesn’t get old for me. How else can you explain the fact that I was so nervous all day?”
Senior Kathy Schurman led the way with 11 kills and five digs. Lindsay Bynon, a senior libero, recorded 14 digs and three aces, while Natalie Schurman contributed seven kills and nine digs. Jessica Dillon produced 25 assists, seven kills and two aces for BH-BL.
“It was a total team effort,” said Bynon. “If you talk to Lindsay, she’ll tell you that she is just happy to be on the team, but she played very well for us.”
Coach Bynon said there was plenty of praise to go around.
“I love to watch our kids compete,” he said. “They’ve come a long way this year, and they had to battle all year long. It was hard for this group to get over the hump, and we played a well-coached Queensbury team that played some great defense.
“I’m just so proud of our kids, It’s very tough for them, considering what everyone expects out of them in this program.”
Bynon said Burnt Hills got a huge lift from junior Jaleah Owens, who had several kills and stuff blocks down the stretch.
“We didn’t get her into the lineup until the third game against Shenendehowa the other night, but she gives us another option. She is so athletic, and she gives us another look up front on offense. She waited her turn, just like so many of the other players who sat on the bench,” he said.
“And Kathleen [Schurman] had a great semifinal against Niskayuna, as well as a great final. She’s been playing great.”
Burnt Hills has only three seniors on the team, and only two of them play regularly.
“They key for us was to stay focused,” said Kathleen Schurman. “We knew Queensbury was a very good team that served the ball very well. I feel extremely lucky to be a part of this program that has won so many titles.
“This just feels awesome,” said Lindsay Bynon. “We’ve been together for a long time. I’m also proud to be a part of this team. Now, we will practice hard again all week in prepration for the regionals.”
Burnt Hills started out slowly in the opening game but rallied from a 5-4 deficit to eventually roll out to an 18-9 lead. Queensbury sliced that lead down to 18-13 before Burnt Hills scored seven of the next eight points, with Owens dominating at the net.
The second game was nip-and-tuck all the way until BH-BL pulled away from a tight 19-17 advantage to win by six.
Burnt Hills dominated the final game, going up 9-2, 20-9 and 22-10 before Queensbury made a run to stave off elimination. Kathleen Schurman and Dillon registered key kills at the end to put the match away.
Queensbury finishes up at 11-5.
In Class D, Waterford-Halfmoon outlasted Mayfield, 25-21, 25-16, 20-25, 16-25, 25-23, for its first sectional championship. The Fordians are 16-2.
Carlie Howe (10 kills, five blocks, 15 service points), Emiliy Schumaker (10 kills, two blocks, 28 digs) and Emily Jones (11 service points, three kills, 37 assists) led the way for the Fordians.
Mayfield (15-4) previously won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake stopped Mohonasen, 25-20,2 5-10, 25-17, to win the Section II Division II championship.
The 19-3 Spartans advance to regional competition against Section IV champion Horseheads Wednesday at Cobleskill-Richmondville High School at 6 p.m.
Drew Haughey spearheaded the Burnt Hills defense with 14 digs. Austin Nydegger put down 12 kills, while B rien Hollowood (nine kills, three blocks), Dan Symer (nine kills) and Cody Pearce (39) also made major contributions.
Mohonasen finishes at 10-9.
Bethlehem topped Shenendehowa, 25-15, 27 -25, 28-26, in the Section II Division I championship at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.
The 24-1 Eagles were led by Aaron Carrk (seven kills, six digs), Kevin Cahill (five kills, two aces), Kevin Mahar (30 assists) and John Sica (eight kills, two aces).
Shenendehowa (16-6) got strong performances from Kolin Krebs (10 kills), Logan Suguitan (eight kills) and Reid Hartl (25 assists).