BALLSTON SPA - The atmosphere in the Ballston Spa High School gymnasium was subdued Thursday evening after Gary Bynon reached another milestone with his Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls' volleyball team.
There was a nice round of applause for his Spartans, and for the Scotties that they had just swept in three sets. There were no signs to commemorate the achievement being unfurled. There was no rushing of the court by a mass of students.
"This is how I want it," Bynon said after a brief chat with a handful of well-wishers. "We're here to watch kids create memories. We're here to watch kids form into groups. I'll go home and my wife [Laura] and I will talk about 30 years."
In the second match of his 30th season at Burnt Hills, Bynon became the all-time wins leader in Section II girls' volleyball history.
His Spartans posted a sweep of Mohonasen Tuesday before doing it again at the expense of a Ballston Spa team that reached the Section II Class AA final in 2016. The 25-14, 25-12, 25-13 triumph was the 674th of Bynon's career, one more than Cathy Stanilka of Lake George piled up in a 40-year run that ended in 2015.
"I wish she was here," the O'Rourke Middle School physical education teacher said. "The things I learned from Cathy Stanilka. I'm still trying to be mentioned with her."
Bynon rarely spoke to his teams about the wins record as he drew nearer to it. Burnt Hills junior Lindsey DeBonis said his pre-match speech was devoid of any mention of the milestone.
"He's a very humble coach," DeBonis said. "And very motivational. He's always pushing us to be our best."
Six of his teams have proved to be the best in the state, with those six New York championships (five in Class A, one in Class B) representing another of the records he has among Section II volleyball coaches.
"He's an incredible teacher. He's an incredible coach," said Joe Scalise, BH-BL's athletic director. "He has a special way with how he connects with the kids."
DeBonis became a big fan when she joined Bynon's varsity team last year.
"He knows what he's talking about. He's taught me so much," the outside hitter said after collecting a match-leading nine kills. "And it's not only volleyball. He wants us to be good people. He always says, 'We want to be that classy team.' He's positive. He's always reinforcing that."
Bynon's Burnt Hills teams have had many opportunities to display that class, like last season when Shenendehowa ended the Spartans' Suburban Council win streak at 390 matches. Burnt Hills went on to claim its 29th straight Suburban Council division title, its 22nd Section II championship and 18th regional crown.
Burnt Hills has won 15 straight Section II and regional championships.
"I feel blessed," Bynon said. "I feel so fortunate. So many people have put so much energy into this program."
His Spartans played with plenty of zip Thursday and never trailed in the first two sets. After Ballston Spa built a 3-1 lead in the third set, the Spartans restored order with a 4-0 spurt that included kills by DeBonis and Myla Dobson, and one of Hannah Shell's five aces.
"We just want to serve, play defense and run our tempo," Bynon said. "Tonight was as quick as we've been. We served tough. On defense we stayed in points. On defense they were where they were supposed to be. They did the right things."
Grace Isaksen and Sofia Pawlusik led the defensive effort with eight and seven digs, respectively, while Miya Hugaboom had four blocks at the net.
"Defense is a big thing we've been working on," DeBonis said. "Coach is always saying, 'Stay in the point.'
"When someone gets that dig it motivates us. Everyone gets pumped up."
Burnt Hills pulled away from an 11-9 lead in the first set with a 6-0 run that featured a kill, a dink and an ace by DeBonis. Burnt Hills was up 3-2 in the second set, and used a 7-1 spurt to gain the upper hand. Shell served two aces early in that run.
Shell also had eight kills and five assists, Dobson had five kills, and Avery Pollard had 24 assists. Madi Amico had five kills and six digs for the Scotties, and Ang Stile had 17 digs.
"We're happy to be 2-0 in the league," Bynon said. "Ballston Spa is going to beat a lot of teams in our league."