MONTROSE — It was a moment that was seven years in the making.
A group of six Yorktown seniors that had played together since modified volleyball, celebrated the program’s first sectional championship, defeating John Jay, 25-21, 17-25, 25-21, 26-24 in the Section 1 Class A final at Hendrick Hudson High on Friday.
“I’m in shock … it’s an amazing feeling,” a glassy-eyed Katy Sherwood said, still emotional after coaching the Huskers to the historic win. “I’m a coach that gets very into it, very excited, and I thought I was good today — trying to stay calm and not jump around like a wild animal. It was such an intense (final) game, so to have that relief of winning that last point was unbelievable.”
As the top-seeded Huskers (19-1) immersed themselves in jubilation, one senior sat watching — from the hospital.
Jessica Figueroa left early into the second game of the match after twisting her ankle coming down from a block attempt. Figueroa was carried off on a stretcher after a delay that lasted about 30 minutes while medical personnel tended to her injury, which was later diagnosed as a “bad sprain,” with no fracture or dislocation.
Figueroa gave her sobbing teammates hugs from the stretcher before leaving to a roaring ovation from both John Jay fans and Yorktown’s infamous student-support section, “The Crop.”
The team Face-timed Figueroa from the hospital so that she could watch the final points and awards ceremony from the match.
Emotions ran even higher when Figueroa hobbled back into the gym — sporting crutches and a hospital bracelet — to celebrate with her team before the start of the Class C championship between Dobbs Ferry and Blind Brook.
“I had to be with my team; I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Figueroa said, getting hugs from teammates and warm wishes from officials. “I didn’t feel anything (pop) because the crowd was so loud, so I didn’t hear anything; but when I went down I knew something happened because I couldn’t move (my ankle) at all.”
Figueroa will be out five-to-seven days, but said she plans on returning for Yorktown’s regional championship match next Saturday at Arlington against the winner of Section 2-Section 4 at 3 p.m.
“Jess is the nicest person that I know and she’s always there for everyone; she’s the hardest worker I know — you can’t even describe her as a person, she’s just that amazing,” said senior captain Kristen Sweeney, who finished with a match-high 16 kills and 32 assists. “We had to win for her.”
The subplot to the match was Yorktown senior Jessica Figueroa leaving on a stretcher (ankle sprain), then actually returning to Hen Hud after going to the hospital. Read my full story here.
Below is the 30-second clip of Figueroa hugging her teammates from the stretcher, which is sure to give you goosebumps. This is also included in my full video recap, which is below this clip.
Here is my full video recap of this epic match. I just put together all of the clips I had and added some notes along the way. No audio interviews — the crowd and match is all the audio you’ll need; trust me. The video runs an even nine minutes (yes, I had that much film and yes, this match was that good), so if you have the time, sit-back and enjoy.
Photos and video by Mike Zacchio/The Journal News