SARATOGA SPRINGS — A year ago, Niskayuna pushed Shenendehowa in the Section II Class AA girls’ volleyball championship match, but couldn’t keep with the Plainsmen for that match’s duration.
This year, the Silver Warriors believed they could get the job done — and they proved it Saturday with a 25-23, 25-18, 14-25, 25-18 victory at Saratoga Springs High School that halted Shenendehowa’s streak of area championships at nine.
"We had momentum. This was our time. This was our year to take down Shen," Niskayuna senior captain Stefana Stan said. "They beat us earlier this season and last year in the championship game, so we just wanted to win for our team, coaches and fans.”
In 2018, Niskayuna was even with Shenendehowa through two sets and had a lead in the third before the Plainsmen rallied for a four-set victory. This year, Niskayuna started fast and kept charging forward.
“In the first two sets, we looked very fluid. Everyone was in the right spot," Niskayuna head coach Christina Coons said. "It was very exciting. I am very thankful for the girls that I work with.”
Stan led Niskayuna with 19 kills and 33 digs, Cat Schiavi added 13 kills, 41 digs, 3 aces, while Laura Mason had 40 digs and six assists. Also offering significant contributions were Katie Atchinson with 15 assists and Anjali Kurian with 20 assists.
“To beat [Shenendehowa] is such a surreal moment,” Stan said, “and we're all just so excited."
For Shenendehowa, Colleen Murphy had 30 assists, Rose Talty had 10 kills and Payton Zophy had 20 digs.
"I was really proud with how they came back and fought for set three," Shenendehowa head coach Lori Kessler said. "We had 15 unforced errors, so definitely not going to come out on top with that type of performance. We made lots of mistakes and didn't pass the ball well off the serve, and were on defense most of the time in set four."
Niskayuna will play next Saturday against Section III’s Baldwinsville at Jamesville-DeWitt High School with a trip to the state final four on the line.
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake won its 18th consecutive Section II Class A title with a 25-20, 25-14, 25-14 victory against Queensbury.
"Queensbury came out strong. Good teams battle through it," Burnt Hills head coach Gary Bynon said. "This is a good group and we gutted it out. We are a point-by-point team, and that's what we do."
Claire Isaksen had 18 assists, Carlie Rzeszotarski had 11 kills and 13 digs, and Kiera Hartpence had 14 digs for Burnt Hills.
Queensbury was led by Isabella Carusone with eight digs, Bella Salatinbo with seven kills and Alexa Ferraro with 17 assists.
Burnt Hills will play Thursday, at home, against Section X’s Massena in a sub-regional match.
BROADALBIN-PERTH DEFENDS TITLE
The Broadalbin-Perth girls' volleyball team won its second consecutive Section II Class B title with a 25-11, 30-28, 25-17 victory over Holy Names. Eliana Fraser had nine kills, Sophia Rogers had 12 kills, Sydney Rogers had 10 digs, and Lily Mitchell had 22 assists and eight digs to lead Broadalbin-Perth.
"I knew we could come back and dig it out," Broadalbin-Perth head coach Renee Gillen said. "It's surreal. Winning back to back will definitely help build the program."
Next up, Broadalbin-Perth will face Section X’s Ogdensburg Free Academy on Thursday at Gloversville High School in a sub-regional match.