Jessica Pulford won’t talk about it.
At practices, the Pawling High School volleyball coach won’t let her players mention it, and even when it was announced before the team’s Section 1 Class C semifinal against Haldane on Wednesday, she wasn’t pleased.
“It bothers me when anyone talks about it,” Pulford said.
She is referring to her team being undefeated.
The top-seeded Tigers improved to 15-0 with their 27-25, 25-20, 25-16 win over visiting fourth-seeded Haldane. Still, Pulford doesn’t want to be the team that goes unbeaten, only to lose when it matters — like the 2007 New England Patriots.
“I don’t want to be the Patriots. In that regard, we don’t talk about our record in practice,” Pulford added. “We’re not done until we’re done.”
Jaclyn Smith helped preserve the Tigers’ streak with 18 kills, 13 digs and three aces. Teammate Clara Lombardo added 27 assists, four blocks and two aces. Elsie Martin contributed with seven kills and eight digs, while Shannon Ward had two aces and eight digs.
Pulford admitted her team didn’t play cleanly at points, citing mistakes behind the service line. She also didn’t think her team was going to meet the Blue Devils in the semifinals.
“With Brooke Vahos and the rest of Haldane, I expected to see them in the finals,” the coach said. “I had wanted to wait.”
Pawling will however now face either No. 3 Keio or No. 2 Dobbs Ferry in the Class C final Friday at Hendrick Hudson High School in Montrose.
A.J. Martelli: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports