Here’s my colleague Chad Jennings with his game story from Dobbs Ferry’s loss to Millbrook in the NYSPHSAA Class C regional final. The Eagles (21-1) suffered their only loss of the season on Saturday, falling to the defending champions.
LAGRANGEVILLE — There was an open space in the corner, just in front of the net, and there was no one from the Dobbs Ferry girls’ volleyball team who could cover it. When the ball fell and hit the court, the Eagles instinctively turned to huddle and prepare for the next point.
But there was no next point.
Realization hit hard as Dobbs Ferry (pictured below) took its first loss of the year, 25-18, 25-21, 25-17 against Millbrook in Saturday’s regional final. It was a sweep that left the Eagles stunned and weeping.
“I think what’s hurting the girls so hard is that we sort of beat ourselves in that we didn’t pass the ball (or) take opportunities on our serves,” coach Patty Duane said. “I think they got tentative; maybe a little nervous that this is not going the way we want.”
Dobbs Ferry has only one senior, so there are promising signs of things to come, but this was a rough way to go out. There were stretches when the Eagles held their own — including a bit of a comeback late in the third set — but the combination of Millbrook’s power at the net and Dobbs Ferry’s uncharacteristic mistakes was too much to overcome.
For a team that prides itself on the ability to come back, a winning rally simply never came.
“I was hoping it would turn around,” Duane said. “But it was a little clear that our passing wasn’t what it is usually. They have tremendous servers, and our passing wasn’t right today, so the combination wasn’t right for us.”
As Duane met with her team afterward, sophomores Emily DeaJue and Alexis Demitrovic — two of the Eagles young but potent forces at the net — cried and hugged until they literally fell over onto the floor.
“I think it’s (so emotional) just because we’ve come this far, it was very disappointing to just be taken out,” junior Bridget Sheridan said. “We all definitely love our senior, Rachel (Birnbaum). She’s the one senior, and we love her, so it was sad to have to see her go. … Our assistant coach told us, when we walk out of here, don’t walk out as the losers. Walk out as the winners of the section championship.”
Junior Caitlin Perry (pictured right) had eight kills, DeaJue added five, and Demitrovic had 18 assists for Dobbs Ferry, but Millbrook had more size and did a good job of using finesse as well as power.
“I think we’ve always kind of had trouble covering tips, and they started doing that a lot and pointing it,” Sheridan said. “That kind of got in everyone’s head that they’re doing this on us. It was just in our heads, in my opinion.”
Dobbs Ferry finished the season 21-1, with high expectations for next year.
“Other teams would die to have this season,” Duane said. “Use this match as a learning experience and know that we want to come back, and we want to do even more.”