Regardless of any success it may have in Section 1, the Suffern boys volleyball team knows each season that if it wants to make its elusive first trip to the state semifinals in Glens Falls, it will likely run into — and have to get by — Bethlehem.
Facing each other for the fifth consecutive year, Suffern fell to the Section 2 representative, 25-17, 25-16, 25-15, at home Wednesday in a regional semifinal. In their five meetings with the Eagles, the Mounties have taken just one game from their upstate foes.
“We didn’t put the ball away as consistently as we needed to and when you give a great team like that second and third chances, they’re going to put the ball away,” said Mounties coach Kim Cleary, who led the team to its second consecutive undefeated season in sectional play.
“We’ll get them one day,” she added.
The Mounties featured a more well-rounded defense but a shorter-than-usual team this year, and the Eagles, who had a significant height advantage, seemed to wear out Suffern late in games.
“I thought we had moments of being really sharp and crisp and we came out really strong,” Cleary said. “I just think, as the match went on — they’re big — and I think it might have taken some wind out of our sails.”
“I thought, in the beginning of each game, we gave it our all,” said senior Deighton Anderson, who was named to the all-tournament team. “As they kept scoring on us, repetitively, we kind of broke down.”
Suffern’s Deighton Anderson (8) sets the ball up for his teammate Gray DeSimone (5) during the boys volleyball regional semifinal game against Bethlehem Central at Suffern High School on Nov. 5, 2014.
Following the postgame handshakes, the Suffern girls volleyball team lined up to congratulate the boys team. Even Cleary’s toddler son, Patrick, ran over to give the boys high-, or rather, low-fives.
“We’ve been each other’s biggest supporters all season,” Cleary said of the boys and girls teams. “That’s a very special feature of Suffern volleyball that I don’t think you find in a lot of schools.”
Ardsley 3, Owego 2: In a Class B state regional final at Corning-Painted Post, Nicolina Chenard had 27 kills and 21 digs in an 18-25, 25-23, 26-28, 30-28, 25-8 win over Section 4’s Owego. Hayley Kmetz and Casey Foley added 21 and 16 kills, respectively, for the Panthers, who will play Section 9 Goshen for the state regional title Friday at SUNY Ulster at 3 p.m.
John Jay 3, Horseheads 1: In a Class A state regional final at Corning-Painted Post, Julia Mines had 18 kills and 21 digs in a 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-20 win over Section 4’s Horseheads. Taylor McCarthy added 19 kills for the Indians, who will play Section 9 Cornwall for the state regional title Friday at SUNY Ulster at 5 p.m.