Class C final preview
No. 1 Pawling (15-0) vs. No. 2 Dobbs Ferry (14-3)
When: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Hendrick Hudson H.S.
Key players: Pawling — Laura Kuhlmann, So., MB; Clara Lombardo, Sr., S; Jaclyn Smith, Sr., OH. Dobbs Ferry — Lauren Demitrovic, Fr., OH; Camryn McCarthy, So., S; Gabriella Maggi, Sr., OH.
Outlook: And so they meet again. Pawling and Dobbs Ferry rendezvous in the section final for the second consecutive year (again at Hen Hud), albeit under very different circumstances. Pawling denied Dobbs Ferry a possible third straight championship in a thrilling four-set match last year, but the Tigers enter as the overwhelming favorites this time around.
Pawling is currently state-ranked in the class and returns every starter from last year’s roster. The Tigers are also undefeated, but don’t tell anyone. At least don’t let Pawling hear you talking about it. My colleague and fellow Motown aficionado A.J. Martelli of The Poughkeepsie Journal has more on that below.
The Tigers swept Dobbs Ferry during a regular season match on Sept. 7, although you can never really compare teams on their first match of the year to their last. The Eagles have been on an incline in the second half of the season, but are simply overmatched in this contest. Dobbs Ferry is loaded with young talent that should almost certainly send it to a fifth consecutive section final next year, and could very well win its third title in five years, but that’s for 2017. As for this year, it’s hard to imagine Pawling losing this one.
Prediction: Pawling is not a legit Class C program — it is a legit volleyball program. Pawling is currently ranked second overall by The Journal News/lohud, and for good reason. The Tigers are tall, talented, experienced, confident, and hungry. I think they would beat any team in the section head to head except Panas, which is the second-ranked overall team in the state. Much like the Ossining-Ursuline final in Class AA, this was the matchup I predicted for the final in my tournament preview. Given that, I’ll also stick with the same scores and say Pawling sweeps it, 25-17, 25-19, 25-20, even though I really think it’ll be a little closer than that.