GLENS FALLS — One of the biggest factors in playing at the state volleyball semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center can be unfamiliarity with the courts.
Where some teams may experience jitters or nerves, Haldane, which was making its fourth consecutive trip to the Civic Center, was unfazed. The Blue Devils, who started the season 1-5, are now on the cusp of their second state title in three years after going 5-1 in the pool play semifinals on Saturday.
“This is like home to me,” said Haldane junior captain Kelly Vahos, who is making her third trip to the Civic Center. “I just wanted to be back here in the beginning (of the season), and to be honest, I didn’t think it was going to happen.”
The Blue Devils, who will play in their fourth consecutive state final, will meet Section 6 rivals Randolph in Sunday’s championship at 2 p.m. The two exchanged state title wins over one another in 2010 and 2011, with Haldane winning the latter.
Haldane split with Randolph in the final match of pool play, 25-15, 14-25. The Blue Devils pulled their starters at the start of the second game and fell into a 9-1 hole.
Randolph has had its own share of success at the state level, winning back-to-back state titles in 2005 and 2006, in addition to its 2010 crown. Vahos said the only thing sweeter than another state championship would be another state championship at Randolph’s expense.
“Us and Randolph, we go way back; we go back to when I was in eighth grade and I wasn’t even on the team,” said Vahos, who could hardly contain her excitement and emotions, grinning ear-to-ear. “(Beating Randolph again) would be the highlight of my day, my career — of everything. It would just be awesome.”
Vahos had a running, game-winning kill against Tioga in the second game of its match which clinched a spot in the state final. Haldane narrowly won both games against the Tigers, 28-26, 25-23.
“I’m very excited that we made it this far. We worked really hard this season, and this is my last year so I’m working my hardest to make it the most fun that it could be,” said Sara Chirico, a senior who joined the varsity last season. “Our team has so much heart, so when we put it together we can really do anything.”
Here’s my video recap from Haldane’s pool play matches; I couldn’t grab film of the Randolph match because I was writing most of the time. First match is vs. Waterford, next is vs. Tioga.