WEST NYACK – Charlie D’Angelo had beads of sweat dripping from his scalp and was breathing heavily, despite not playing a single point during Thursday’s Section 1 boys volleyball final.
Instead, the Clarkstown South head coach watched on as his players dramatically completed a mission that has been four years in the making.
“This is probably the best feeling of my life right now,” D’Angelo said after a thrilling 25-18, 19-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23 win over Clarkstown North. “It took four years to finally accomplish what I set out to do since Day 1 and there’s nothing better.”
The Vikings nearly relinquished a five-point lead on match point before closing it out to a court-storming celebration with fans.
It’s the first section championship for Clarkstown South, and marks the first time Suffern has not won the title since the boys’ league was founded eight years ago.
“It’s indescribable, to be honest,” Vikings senior Nick Tagaris said. “It’s just the greatest feeling in the world.”
Tagaris, who plays on the varsity baseball team under D’Angelo, said their personal connection made the victory that much sweeter.
“After we shook hands, I gave (D’Angelo) a nice long hug and said, ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m glad it was with you,’” said Tagaris, a WPI baseball commit, who was on the volleyball team’s 2-8 roster last year.
Tagaris said the team planned to celebrate at Buffalo Wild Wings after the match, although he didn’t have a specific sporting event in mind to watch.
“I’m just waiting for Game 3 of the World Series (on Friday),” he said.
An exhausted and hoarse D’Angelo said he planned to celebrate with “a good dinner and bed.”
“I probably won’t be able to sleep because I’m so high-strung right now and emotional, but I couldn’t be happier now,” said D’Angelo, who was hoping to sink his teeth in a New York strip at the end of the night.
Clarkstown North senior captain Mike Owens respectfully interrupted D’Angelo’s interview to give the coach an extra round of praise.
When the Rams chase a title next season, they will do it without head coach Kerry Darcy, who said before the match that it would be her last with the program for the foreseeable future.
Darcy (formerly Sullivan), a former all-state volleyball and basketball player for Panas, is expecting a child in April and said she may revisit the possibility of coaching in 2017.