Victor players celebrate following championship point in the Division 2 final at the NYSPHSAA Boy’s Volleyball Championships held at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Nov. 11, 2014. Victor beat Eastport South Manor-XI in three games (25-12, 25-21, 25-18).
Collin Mahan remembers watching his older brother Chris wrap up his Victor volleyball career with back-to-back state titles three years ago.
“I looked at that team and those seniors with a lot of respect,” Mahan recalled. “And wanted to do the same exact thing to finish my career.”
Mahan finished his career by leading Victor to its second straight Division II state title with a three-set sweep over Eastport-South Manor of Section XI at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Friday.
The senior outside hitter was named state tournament MVP for the second year in a row. The Blue Devils won 25-12, 25-21, 25-14.
It is Victor’s fourth state championship in five years.
“It feels even more special this year.” said Adam Dake, who collected 38 assists. “I’m never going to play high school ball again so this is very memorable.”
Kyle Donohoe registered 12 kills and Mahan and Colin Steele each finished with nine kills for Victor. Dake, Donohoe and libero Colby Upham were named to the all-state team.
The Blue Devils (23-1) moved into the final after straight set wins against Eastport-South Manor and Oswego-III in pool play.
The match was tied early in the first set before Victor pulled away. The Blue Devils’ versatile offensive attack made the Sharks (13-9) seem more like a fish out of water.
“Pool play helped our confidence and we were serving well, which allowed our offense to roll,” coach Jake Martin said. “That freed us up to be aggressive and get the ball to our big hitters.”
Martin admitted that the team felt more pressure to defend the title this year than when they weren’t the heavy favorite a year ago. The senior-laden group wanted to go out on top and match the back-to-back accomplishment set by the 2011 senior class.
“They were a little nervous in pool play, but once we shook those nerves we started rolling,” Martin said. “People think when you win in three sets it’s easy. Our kids were battling and clawing the whole way. Our trip here was way harder than last year.”
Martin’s teams were bounced from sectionals his junior and senior seasons at Victor. He constantly reminded his team that he remembers those two losses more than winning his freshman and sophomore years.
“I kept saying ‘Let’s win this for our seniors so they can go out with a title,’ ” Martin said.
Make that two titles.
“The pressure was on for sure,” Mahan said. “We knew we had to bring it against these teams and rose to the occasion. You know it’s the end now so you cherish it a little more.”
Athlete of the Week: Collin Mahan