LEWISBORO — Over the last decade, the question among the Section 1 Class D volleyball circuit has evolved from, “Who will win?” to more bluntly, “Will Haldane lose?”
The Blue Devils continued their dynastic run through the class on Saturday, claiming their 11th consecutive sectional title with a 25-13, 25-10, 25-14 sweep of top-seeded Keio at John Jay High School.
The sectional tournament has become merely a formality for Haldane, whose 9-8 record can be explained by a regular-season schedule oftough competition against schools in larger enrollment classes — all the better to prepare itself for a run at a state title in Glens Falls.
“It’s a totally different momentum; it’s a different game that we almost have to play,” Blue Devils coach Melissa Rossano said. “Once we leave the section, it generally becomes more of what we’re used to during the season.”
Haldane plays in League 1-C, otherwise known as the “power league” in the section, which features sectional semifinalists Arlington, Hen Hud, Panas and John Jay. The competitive schedule put the Blue Devils in a 2-5 hole to start the season, from which they quickly rebounded.
“It’s definitely a benefit to have the competition. Not only do they learn to beat good teams, but they learn how to be losing and come back and struggle,” said Rossano, who has led Haldane to three consecutive state championship appearances and a title in 2011. “We’ve really developed the skill of being down in a match and coming back to win. I can’t explain all of the benefits of (a power league).”
Even after three virtually unchallenged sectional titles, Haldane junior captain Kelly Vahos said the feeling of winning never gets old.
“It just gets better as you get older, especially when you’re the captain. … It’s just rewarding, I guess,” said Vahos, who finished with a match-high 19 kills against Keio (12-8).
Katie Cunningham added 10 kills for the Blue Devils.
Haldane will await the winner of the state regional semifinal between Section 9 and Section 11, which is being played on Wednesday. The Blue Devils will play their regional championship match on Friday at 6 p.m. at Pelham.
“I just want to get (back to Glens Falls), and I want to see the teams and I just want to see different kinds of volleyball, for my knowledge,” Vahos said. “I’m ready. I want to go.”