Those of you who have been around the volleyball circuit for a few years, you might be having a serious case of deja vu.
For the fifth time in six years, Haldane and Shelter Island of Section 11 will meet in the state regional tournament. The Blue Devils have won four of those five contests, including each of the last two.
The Blue Devils should know everything they will need to about the Indians, which boast a small roster of just girls this year. Few teams have the advantage of knowing anything about an opponent when they get to this level; Haldane has the significant advantage of having seen and beaten the Indians — multiple times.
Both teams were hindered by graduation, with Shelter Island losing half of its roster and Haldane losing standouts Lauren Etta, Gabby Carnabucci, Becky Garrison and Claudia Percacciolo, among others. Still, the Blue Devils seem to have kept a decent core in place for the time being; at least more than Shelter Island, which carries five underclassmen.
Here is the preview information:
What: NYSPHSAA Class D regional championship
Who: Haldane (9-8) vs. Shelter Island (14-1)
When: Friday, November 8 at 6 p.m.
Where: Pelham Memorial Middle School
What you need to know about Shelter Island: The Indians are very similar to Haldane in that they beat up on teams in their division because they are just that much better than everyone else. Granted, I think the Blue Devils see stronger competition during season thanks to a Class D-free schedule, but still, the Indians are a talented squad; just not more talented than Haldane, in my opinion.
Both have won their respective section titles for more than a decade — a feat that is remarkable no matter how you look at it. Shelter Island hit double digits with its most recent Section 11 crown, while Haldane (pictured right) recently won its 11th consecutive title in Section 1.
The Indians, who haven’t lost to a Section 11 Class D opponent in five years, will likely have added motivation after senior captain Logan Pondergrass was sidelined for remainder of the season after being injured in a car accident. The absence of their captain can either provide the Indians with added fuel to win, or could be the missing link in a team that is looking to make its first trip to Glens Falls since 2009.
With two young squads, something tells me that these two will likely meet again next year; most likely in the regional final again. My prediction may change by next year, but for the time being, I think the Blue Devils oust them for a third-straight time.
There really isn’t much out there on Shelter Island that I could find — at least on this year’s squad. I couldn’t find any video, and any relevant articles I could find I linked here. Those of you who follow Haldane likely have daughters who have been on the team before, so you should have an idea of what Shelter Island looks like. If there’s any team to get anyway with minimal scouting information, it’s Shelter Island.
I will be covering this match live from Pelham on Friday, so you can track the match via my Twitter feed on the righthand column of the blog.
Photo credit: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News