The Mid-Hudson Athletic League volleyball final could very well have proved to be a precursor to the Section 9 Class C final.
The Millbrook High School volleyball team squared off with Spackenkill in the MHAL finals Wednesday at SUNY Ulster. The Blazers came out on top, winning a best-of-three set, 25-18, 25-21. Last year Millbrook won the MHAL championship, but it was the Spartans who got the last laugh, winning the section title.
The Blazers earned Class C’s the top seed this year, while Spackenkill was given the second seed. Millbrook coach Shawn Stoliker expects his team to cross paths with the Spartans again.
“If things go well, hopefully we’ll be playing each other in the championship,” Stoliker said. “Hopefully we’ll be seeing each other on Sunday (Nov. 8).”
Spackenkill coach Cassi Diamond thinks a rematch could happen, too.
“I would say it’s a good possibility,” Diamond said of playing Millbrook for the Class C title for the second straight year.
To reach the MHAL finals, the Blazers beat Marlboro 25-6, 25-12. In all, Megan Fergus finished with 25 kills, one ace and 11 digs. Lauren Raylor had nine kills, six assists and eight digs. Kayla Gusikoff had 44 assists, and Brooke Babbitt added four aces.
Stoliker liked the type of effort his girls put forth in the MHAL final. It’s given him faith for the postseason.
“I like where we’re at,” said Stoliker, whose Blazers are 16-1. “This is what you practice for all year long. Nothing matters now but sectionals.”
Spackenkill beat Red Hook in the MHAL semifinals, 25-19, 25-16. Nini Sher had 10 kills and one ace against the Raiders. Against Millbrook in the finals, Sher had seven kills and three aces. Teammate Courtney Noll added eight kills.
“Overall we played well,” said Diamond, whose Spartans are 17-4. “It was a good test going into sectionals to see what we can be working on.”
Millbrook and Spackenkill each received first-round byes in the Class C tournament. The Blazers will face the winner of fourth-seeded Rhinebeck and fifth-seeded James I. O’Neill on Nov. 5. The Spartans will face the winner of third-seeded John S. Burke Catholic and sixth-seeded Ellenville the same day.
In Class B, top-seeded Red Hook received a first-round bye. The Raiders will play the winner of fourth-seeded New Paltz and fifth-seeded Saugerties on Nov. 5. Marlboro, the two seed, faces seventh-seeded Monticello in the quarterfinals on Nov. 3.
A.J. Martelli: [email protected], 845-437-4836, Twitter: @AJM_PoJoSports