Jared Christian was a rookie coach in 2000 when his Byram Hills team fell to Pearl River in the Section 1 Class C championship.
After the Pirates got the best of his team more than a decade ago — largely due to a standout performance by current Pearl River coach Brianna Kenna — it’s Christian and Co. who have gotten the better of the Pirates in the last three meetings, including Thursday’s 25-13, 25-9, 25-18 win.
“I definitely remember it; there’s no sting, though,” Christian said of the 2000 final. “We weren’t supposed to be there and I had a group of kids that weren’t really used to winning and they got a taste of winning when I started coaching.”
Christian led the Bobcats to a section final in 2009 and his teams have made three other semifinals appearances (2001, 2005, 2013). The days of Byram Hills teams not knowing what it’s like to win are long over.
The Bobcats (13-3) are playing their best volleyball of the season, according to Christian, and Thursday’s performance certainly helped confirm that.
Once Byram Hills found its groove — which didn’t take long — the Bobcats made it clear it was going to be a quick afternoon for the Pirates.
Byram Hills senior Alexandra Golia served the final 11 points of game one. Guin Mesh followed that up with a 12-point serving rally the following game. It took the Bobcats just over an hour to complete the sweep.
With the section tournament less than a week away, Byram Hills appears to be peaking at the right time. In addition to Christian grinning ear-to-ear when postseason possibilities are discussed, his players are confident, too.
“I think we’re ready,” said Golia, who finished with 13 digs. “I think we’re going to give other teams a big challenge.”
Mesh was dominant in all aspects, with match highs of 20 kills and 15 digs. Mesh, who will play for Swarthmore next season, said the team’s cohesiveness could lead to a deep playoff run.
We know what each other wants (on the court),” Mesh said. “We’re all really communicative. So that’s probably one of our biggest strengths.”
Photo credit: Frank Becerra Jr./The Journal News
Best of the rest: Suffern’s Sam Uline had 27 kills in a 25-15, 25-9, 25-13 win at Pelham. … Hen Hud’s Gillian Stieglitz had 24 kills in a 25-15, 25-9, 23-25, 25-27 win against visiting Ossining. … Dobbs Ferry’s Emily Dea-Jue had 12 kills in a 25-18, 25-14, 25-16 win against visiting Albertus Magnus.