Broadalbin-Perth returns to state girls’ volleyball tournament with heart and hustle

Broadalbin-Perth’s Laurel Mitchell during the Section II Class B girls’ volleyball championship against Holy Names on Nov. 5 at Saratoga Springs High School.

BURNT HILLS — Broadalbin-Perth girls’ volleyball coach Kayla Twardzik saw something in the Patriots squad returning to the NYSPHSAA Class B Final Four this weekend. She coached the group as a JV squad in 2019, and now as the varsity coach both last spring and this fall.

“This is something that we’ve been working towards since last spring,” Twardzik said. “With no state championships right now, but this is where we’re going to start and that’s our goal for next fall — go to states.”

What Broadalbin-Perth lacks in height at the net, Twardzik says the Patriots make up for in other ways.

“They say offense sells tickets, defense wins games,” Twardzik said. “If you don’t have a strong defense, you’re not going to pick up those hard-hit balls. We have a strong offense, we don’t block a ton of balls, but I think we’re a well-rounded team and they do work very, very hard.”

She also likes the determination of this group she coached the majority of as a JV squad in 2019.

“Hustle and heart, giving 110 percent for every point and point-by-point we’re going to win the set, we’re going to win the match and we’re going to be successful,” Twardzik said. “This weekend, it’s special, we’re going to embrace the moment, but we’re also looking to continue on for years to come.”

FONDA-FULTONVILLE MAKES FIRST APPEARANCE

If there is any team that may enter Cool Insuring Arena and be awestruck, it could be Fonda-Fultonville and first-year coach Miranda Nethaway.

“I’m probably more nervous than they are,” 2016 Fonda-Fultonville graduate Nethaway said. “They’re looking at me for guidance and I’m like guys, we’re all doing this for the first time together.”

Fonda-Fultonville captured its first Section II title this year, its first-ever regional title and is making its first appearance in the Final Four.

“I had so much overwhelming joy and pride for them,” Nethaway said. “I knew they were more than capable of doing it. Seeing them put in the effort, work hard to get there brought back all those memories when you were a player.”

Nethaway was part of Fonda-Fultonville’s first-ever Section II final appearance in 2016. She is the fourth coach for the Braves in five years and has committed herself to the program during her first year.

“I think I assured them that I’m not going anywhere, I’m here for the long run, they were able to put a lot more confidence and trust in me to listen to what I had to say to implement these things,” Nethaway said. “I think that’s what’s gotten us pretty far.”

The Braves hope to make their mark this weekend while competing in Class C.

“History has been made several times this year,” Nethaway said. “After each [historic win] we kind of just take it in, say we just did that. Now they want to make their presence known at states.”

WEEKEND LINE-UP/TICKET PURCHASING

The NYSPHSAA girls’ volleyball championships begin Saturday at 7:45 a.m. with opening ceremonies followed by pool play in Class AA, A and B. The afternoon session begins at 2:30 p.m. with pool play for Class C and D.

Class AA Shenendehowa will face Section VIII’s Massapequa at 8:30 a.m. followed by Section V’s Victor and Section IX’s Pine Bush.

Class A Burnt Hills will face Section VIII’s Wantagh at 8:30 a.m. followed by Section VI’s Niagara Wheatfield and Section I’s Walter Panas.

Class B Broadalbin-Perth will take on Section XI’s John Glenn at 8:30 a.m. followed by Section III’s Marcellus and Section I’s Hendrick Hudson.

Class C Fonda-Fultonville will face Section XI’s Mattituck at 3 p.m. followed by Section VI’s Portville and Section IX’s Millbrook.

Class D Galway will face Section IX’s Mount Academy followed by Section V’s Pavilion and Section IV’s Candor.

Tickets are available only on-line at www.gofan.co/app/school/NYSPHSAA. Cost is $10 per ticket and must be presented on your mobile device. Screenshot and printed tickets will not be accepted.

By Stan Hudy

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