Did you think they’d crumble? Did you think they’d lay down and die? Oh no, no them. The Yorktown Huskers proved to be arguably the biggest breakout team in 2013, and their performance in Saturday’s NYSPHSAA Class A region final — although in defeat — displayed grit, determination, and heart; miles and miles of heart. The game story below belong to my colleague Chad Jennings; the ‘Replacements’ clips on the other hand? You’re welcome.
LAGRANGEVILLE — If there were a time to give up, it was surely two sets into the match when the Yorktown girls volleyball team had let the first slip away and been badly beaten in the second. The third was about to start, and an embarrassing regional finals sweep seemed entirely possible.
But not every aspect of a team and a match shows up on the scoreboard.
“Our motto through everything is that it’s hard to beat a team that never gives up,” Yorktown senior Danielle DeIulio (pictured right, 5) said.
As it turned out, Yorktown was awfully hard to beat.
After falling behind early, then pulling back even, Yorktown finally lost a grueling, back-and-forth match 27-25, 25-16, 20-25, 13-25, 25-17 to Cornwall on Saturday at Arlington High School. It was a disappointing finish — but also a telling finish — to the Huskers season, which stopped just short of the state tournament.
“We didn’t want to be known as that team that got swept in the regional finals after doing so well all season; just going out and looking like we gave up,” DeIulio said. “We had a great season, so it’s hard to be sad right now.”
Even in defeat, Yorktown made a statement. After losing those first two sets, the Huskers scored the first four points of the third. They led 10-5, and even after Cornwall nearly pulled even at 18-17, Yorktown finished strong to take the set and build some momentum. That momentum carried into the fourth set, which — after being tied at 10-10 — was all Yorktown.
“We kind of just lit a fire under our butts and realized that we had to come back,” Kristen Sweeney said. “It gets to a certain point in the season, you realize that any game can be your last. You don’t want to go out in the regional finals being swept by a team. You want to put up a fight, and I think we did a really good job of that today.”
In the fifth set, Cornwall’s size and power were finally too much. Cornwall took control quickly, and finished strong. Yorktown pulled within 17-14 at one point, but the Huskers couldn’t finish off the comeback.
“Tips are our weakness, and they got our weakness,” coach Katy Sherwood said. “They’re a great team, and they exploited that, and that’s what you’ve got to do. They’re also extremely tall. … When the balls were over the net on an over pass or whatever, they were over my girls. There’s nothing I could do about that physically.”
Sweeney (pictured above) finished with 22 kills and 20 digs. Catalina Munoz had 19 kills, Michelle Ruffino had 25 digs, Taryn Horgan and Jessica Figueroa had three blocks apiece, and DeIulio had 45 assists to go with 10 digs and three aces. They turned a near blowout into a finish to be proud of.
“We were down by a little bit, and then we started coming back, and it just wasn’t enough,” DeIulio said.
All photos we shot by John Meore for The Journal News. View’s John’s entire photo gallery from this match here. (I picked the second photo because it’s a terrific shot; the photo-bomb is simply an added perk.)