GLENS FALLS - The Randolph Lady Cardinals (22-2) ended their terrific season on Sunday by falling to the Haldane Lady Blue Devils (7-8) in three sets 19-25, 17-25, 17-25 in the New York state Public High School Athletic Association Class D girls volleyball championship match at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
After splitting sets with the Lady Blue Devils in pool play on Saturday, the teams earned the right to face off once more in a full five-set match for the title on Sunday. While the Lady Cardinals were able to muster enough offense to claim a set off Haldane in the pool-play game, Sunday was a different story.
The Lady Blue Devils were offensively dominant and Randolph simply did not have the blocking to combat standouts Katie Cunningham and Kelly Vahos.
Above, Randolph’s Cierra Farmer serves during Sunday’s New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class D girls volleyball championship match against Haldane. Below, McKenna Maycock of the Lady Cardinals goes high to make a return. See additional photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Jay Young
"We only play one Class D team all year during the regular season, and the rest of our games are against larger schools," said Haldane coach Melissa Rossano.
And that explains Haldane's sub-.500 record.
It was Haldane's fourth state title while Randolph was seeking its third. The Lady Cardinals lost to the Lady Blue Devils in the title match in 2007.
That tough schedule clearly paid dividends against the Lady Cardinals, who were frustrated on defense during much of the afternoon's play.
The opening set was the best chance of the day for Randolph, but tournament most valuable player Vahos would not be denied offensively.
The game was back and forth in the early points and a block by Cunningham gave the Lady Blue Devils a 7-5 advantage. A kill by McKenna Maycock and a block by Lindsey Chase put Randolph up by a point, but it was unable to hold the lead moving forward.
Two net points and a contested carry call made the set 17-12 in favor of Haldane and it would not relinquish the margin in the final points. A block on Maycock by Shauna Ricketts finished the opener by a close 19-25 score.
"I thought we played fairly well offensively in the first,"said Randolph coach Robin Maycock, "but there were obviously a few calls I was upset with."
Haldane rode the momentum of the first game into the early points of the second and went on a dominating 7-1 run. Kills by Vahos and Cunningham put the Lady Cardinals in an early hole and coach Maycock called a fast timeout to try and rally her team.
"I tried at least three different blocking schemes up front to try and slow them down, but nothing was really working," she said.
A kill by McKenna Maycock and an ace from the service line brought the score to a closer 12-5, but at that point the Lady Blue Devils had already pulled too far ahead.
A carry by Randolph and another block from Cunningham put Haldane in a position to finish the match, which came on a missed block by the Lady Cardinals.
In the final set of the day Haldane broke out to another early lead that squashed any hope of a Lady Cardinals' comeback. Two early points by Vahos and ace from the service line put the Lady Blue Devils up, 5-1.
At that point the defensive frustration took its toll on Randolph as there was a noted drop in morale. The shift in momentum was not helped by more contested decisions by the officials, including several close calls along the baseline.
Serving by Miranda Gross pulled Randolph out of their hole to 10-6 and a kill by Maycock made it 11-7. Unfortunately, Rossano called a decisive timeout to stall the comeback and after the break Haldane came out determined to finish the set.
The nail in the coffin was a long and intense rally with great play by both teams that ended in favor of the Lady Blue Devils, 16-13. After that more stout hitting from Vahos sealed the title for Haldane, 25-17.
After the match, sportsmanship awards were presented to Cierra Farmer and Maycock of Randolph as well as Sara Chirico and Cunningham of Haldane.
For Randolph, Maycock finished with 17 kills and 20 digs, Alexis Terrette had 10 assists and 10 digs, Miranda Gross had six assists, and Hilary Clinger added 10 digs.
In her stellar performance, Vahos had 23 kills and 10 digs while Cunningham notched 10 kills and nine digs, Chirico had 32 assists and eight digs, and Maya Curto had 13 digs.
"Obviously you don't want to go out this way," coach Maycock said. "But we have had a great year and I'm proud of all the girls."
With both Maycock and Vahos in line to return for their senior seasons, a rematch could be on tap next year.
"They always come to play and are a great team," said Rossano. "We look forward to playing them."