GLENS FALLS — It’s almost laughable to think that about two months ago, Haldane had just one win to its credit and there was somewhat serious talk of it not qualifying for the Section 1 tournament.
For the second time in three years, the Blue Devils claimed the NYSPHSAA Class D championship at the expense of Section 6 representative Randolph at the Glens Falls Civic Center on Sunday.
Haldane, which started the season 1-5, had to endure a bit of controversy leading up to its 25-19, 25-17, 25-17 championship win after many believed it intentionally lost its final pool-play game to Randolph in order to eliminate Tioga from possibly advancing.
The Blue Devils narrowly beat Tioga, the Section 4 representative, 28-26, 25-23 while they beat Randolph handily the first game 25-15 before dropping the second 25-14.
Haldane was quickly vindicated from any and all accusations after it was announced as the team sportsmanship award winner for the tournament.
“We came here this weekend for Haldane volleyball,” Blue Devils coach Melissa Rossano said. “We already qualified (for Sunday’s final) — neither one of those games (against Randolph) mattered. We played the first (game) to see what they were like, and the second game, I wanted to give the girls a shot who have been with us all season, who supported the starters all season — they worked hard everyday at practice, too. They deserve the chance to be on the court.”
Blue Devils junior Kelly Vahos was named the Class D tournament MVP, while senior teammates Katie Cunningham and Sara Chirico also were named to the all-tournament team.
“At (the 24th point), I was about to start crying. I was like, ‘We’re doing this! We’re going to win this!’ and the second that scoreboard hit 25, I just could not hold back my excitement. I was so happy,” said Vahos, still wiping away tears of joy.
“It’s an adrenaline rush,” Chirico said. “You’ve blocked everyone in the stands out, it’s nothing else but you and your family on that court.”
“Honestly, I don’t really care about that kind of stuff; I just care that everyone won a state championship together. I don’t care about the little plaque, at all,” Cunningham said. “This team is incredible to me and I don’t think we could’ve done a thing without every single one of them.”