NYSPHSAA Class B regional final preview
When: Saturday at 3 p.m.
Where: John Jay-Cross River H.S.
Key players: Hen Hud— Emily Barthelmes, Sr., S; Lindsay Pelaccio, Sr., L; Gillian Stieglitz, Sr., OH. Owego — Makenna Kallin, Jr., L; Kim Lavender, Sr., OPP; Kayla Snyder, Sr., MB.
Outlook: Hen Hud head coach Diane Swertfager has been waiting two years for this match.
After Owego bumped Hen Hud in the regional final two years ago, before winning a state title, the Sailors get their rematch with the undefeated Indians Saturday afternoon. Hen Hud still has a few key players from that roster (Barthelmes, Pelaccio, and Stieglitz) who remember the loss and will surely be out to make sure history does not repeat itself.
Not only is the narrative for this match incredible, but the match itself should be. Owego and Hen Hud are ranked third and fourth in the state, respectively, so this should be an excellent display of volleyball for fans and a taste of what the winner can expect at Glens Falls when they go to the state semifinals.
Owego head coach Brittney Race told the Star Gazette that although the team breezed through its regional semifinal, 25-7, 25-10, 25-6, its play was sloppy. “It’s definitely not enough to get us through Saturday, though,” she said. “We definitely need to pick up what we’re doing, clean up a few things, fine tune a few things to get ready for Saturday.”
Owego returns nine players from its state-championship squad, although its not as tall as it was back then.
The Indians lost to Panas during a tournament earlier this year, 20-25, 26-24, 25-19, while the Sailors were swept by the Panthers twice.
Prediction: Owego lost to Ardsley (in five sets) in the regional semifinals last year, with even more firepower than it has this year. I think that this year’s Hen Hud squad matches up well with last year’s squad. Since that’s really the only basis I have to go on (plus the state rankings, of course), I think this match is winnable for the Sailors; but it will be a dogfight. Since I’ve annoyed Kelsea Gillen and the team enough over the last four years with some of my predictions, I’m saying Hen Hud takes it in five, 25-21, 22-25, 26-24, 23-25, 25-22.
Game story from Owego’s regional semifinal win. (Star Gazette)