Lady Patriots set for state tournament


GLENS FALLS — After making back-to-back appearances in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class C Final Four, the Broadalbin-Perth volleyball program bumped up to the Class B.

Their success during the season continued until the Section II Class B championships where the Lady Patriots ran into a Hudson Falls squad that was at its peak.

This year, Broadalbin-Perth powered through the regular season and again faced Hudson Falls for the Section II championship only this time there was no denying the Lady Patriots as the ended the five-year reign of the Tigers with a 3-0 victory.

The Lady Patriots powered through Class B subregional play without losing a game to Peru or Ogdensburg Free Academy and are now headed to the NYSPHSAA Final Four Saturday and Sunday at the Cool Insuring Arena in Glens Falls with an eye on a chance to play for the Class B state championship.

“Broadalbin Perth certainly has a great volleyball history, which is a tribute to prior coaching staffs, the local volleyball clubs, parents, support of the District and the commitment of the players to always strive to be the best,” first year varsity coach Renee Gillen said. “The fact that this program will now have been to states twice in the past four years is amazing and will help to inspire girls currently in the program and those younger girls who we have not even seen. I’m very proud to be a part of this program and look forward to continuing the strong volleyball tradition at Broadalbin Perth.”

The Lady Patriots (17-1) will open pool play at 9:30 a.m. Saturday against Section XI champion Bayport Blue Point before facing Section III champ Westhill and closing out pool play against defending Class B champion Owego of Section IV.

“We’ve been able to locate some game tape on a few of the teams,” Gillen said. “The teams appear to be fairly evenly matched as you’d expect at this level. I anticipate some great matches out of the B court for sure.”

The top two teams in pool play move on to Sunday’s championship match at noon.

Gillen is not worried about how her team will handle moving from playing in high school gyms to the expansive arena.

“Most of our girls play in club through the winter and have played in some large venues before, that, combined with our experience playing in the Orlando Tournament, has prepared them well for this type of stage,” she said. “I believe they will rise to the occasion. Our focus for the weekend will be to continue to utilize our power, speed and consistent serving as we have all season.”

Senior Cassy Bown is the lone member of the team that played for the Lady Patriots varsity when they went to the states in 2015.

She is joined on the roster by Foothills Council MVP Eliana Fraser, a junior, along with fellow juniors, Madison Fariello, Sydney Rogers, Danika Dygon, Kassey Cassella, Macy Bollart, sophomores Allie Spagnola, Lily Mitchell, Kelsey Hinderliter, Shelby Courtney and Kiaira Tomlinson along with freshmen Olivia Fraser and Sophia Rogers.

“These girls have played a lot of volleyball, most of them playing year round and competing in some big matches,” Gillen said. “They have seen their share of very talented volleyball teams playing many different styles of volleyball. I feel as though we are prepared to adjust to whatever comes our way on Saturday.”

The Lady Patriots have not played a competitive match since last Saturday but have strived to keep sharp in preparation for this weekend’s tournament.

“I don’t anticipate the time off between games will have a significant impact,” Gillen said. “We’ve been able to scrimmage hard in practice and we were able to participate in a scrimmage of the other remaining Section 2 teams at Burnt Hills on Wednesday. The scrimmaging certainly helps to keep us sharp. We are fortunate that our second team is strong and able to keep the starters sharp.”

With her teams success this season coach Gillen reflected on the journey to the state tournament that started with a trip to Florida in August.

“I can’t put into words how special this season has been for me bonding with the girls as a first year coach. The girls have been amazing and accepting of me as their coach from day one,” she said. “They have all undoubtedly had some great coaching along the way from their previous school coaches, club coaches and volleyball camp coaches . . . every coach along the way has helped pave their path to success. I am proud to be the last piece of the puzzle taking them to states. It’s truly an amazing accomplishment for them that they will remember for the rest of their lives. We will certainly miss our lone graduating senior but it is also exciting at the same time to think about the talent in our returning team.”

For the fourth straight year, Section II will be represented in all five classes of competition at the state tournament.

Broadalbin-Perth is joined by Shenendehowa that is playing in the Class AA Final Four, while Burnt Hill-Ballston Lake is in the Class A tournament along with Voorheesville in Class C and Mayfield in Class D.

“I can’t say enough about the outstanding volleyball programs of Section 2,” Gillen said. “I consider it a great honor to be part of this history and to be grouped with teams like Burnt Hills, Shenendehowa, Voorheesville and Mayfield. The coaches of these teams have all been outstanding to work with and have helped me tremendously as I guide this team through my first year coaching them.”

By Paul Wager

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