Class AA: Suffern vs. Pine Bush (Section 9) at SUNY Ulster, 3 p.m.
The name Pine Bush should sound familiar to Section 1 fans. The Lady Bushmen have dominated the Section 9 circuit for more than a decade, with section title wins from 2001-2012, and now another in 2014.
Pine Bush was swept by Suffern at regionals in 2011, then beaten in four by Clarkstown South the following year. The Bushmen boast a roster that contains 14 girls, with only two seniors. They are tall — very tall. Going off last year’s roster, which means you can probably add an inch or two to these heights, the Bushmen have four girls standing at least 5-foot-10, including sophomore Kate Cain, who was 6-foot-4 last year.
Fortunately, the Mounties have a good amount of height on their end, as well. Setter Julia Hrycyk is approximately 6-foot-2 and senior hitters Sam Uline and Taylor Cimillo are both around 6-feet tall, so the Mounties should size up well with the Lady Bushmen.
I found video of the team’s Section 9 title win, which I’ve embedded below. The good news is that you get over two minutes of action footage; the bad news is that it is from far away. Hey, something is better than nothing. Pine Bush is on the right-hand side of your screen, for those watching.
And, for a little #ThrowbackThursday, here’s video of Clarkstown South’s regional final win over Pine Bush:
Just from watching how the team moves, it looks like junior Sarah Smith strikes the ball the best. She’s listed as an outside hitter on the team’s MaxPreps page. Cain could be a hassle at the net, but I think Hrycyk’s setting will work wonders in getting around the big block.
I would think that Suffern is capable of sweeping Pine Bush, but even if it doesn’t I still feel that this should be a somewhat easy win for Suffern. I’ve attached some links to game stories on Pine Bush, if it helps any.
Class C: Dobbs Ferry vs. Spackenkill (Section 9) at SUNY Ulster, 5 p.m.
I’m definitely expecting this to be the toughest match for Section 1 at the regional final level. Spackenkill is a tough team, so, as is the case with many of these matches going forward, Dobbs Ferry will have to be at the top of its game to book a trip to Glens Falls.
The Spartans were swept by Section 1 opponent (and Class D champion) Haldane earlier this year, 25-22, 25-12, 25-16, so that should give a vague idea of what the Spartans are working with. Haldane is one of the best teams in the section — in any class — and I think that if it played Dobbs Ferry, scores would be similar to that match.
The guys over at the Hudson Valley Sports Report compiled this lengthy video of Spackenkill’s Section 9 championship win over Millbrook, which swept Dobbs Ferry in the region final last year. The Spartans swept the Blazers to advance to this match. I’ve embedded it below for your convenience.
Spackenkill beat Millbrook twice in three matches during the season, and to give you an idea of what kind of team Shawn Stoliker had, the Blazers — who faced several Section 1 opponents at tournaments — posted a 10-7 record in games (not matches) against local opponents.
Someone told me that, in volleyball, even if you don’t know anything about the sport or the teams, more often than not, you’ll be able to tell how good a team is and/or who its best player is within the first couple of points. Usually, just watching how the team moves with (and without) the ball should give you a good idea of where it is at.
The Spartans appear to play very clean volleyball on both offense and defense; it strikes the ball well from both the front and back rows and don’t appear to get out of system often. Senior Tara Mohan looks to be the team’s top player, so the Eagles defense may want to keep an eye on her.
From what I’ve heard, Dobbs Ferry played well against Windsor in the regional semifinal, and if it plays well again this evening, I think Dobbs Ferry can grind out a five-game win. However, based on what I’ve heard about Spackenkill leading up to this match (i.e. It is a very good program), what I have seen from Dobbs Ferry in-person and what I have now seen from Spackenkill online, I think the Spartans take it in four.
I thought Dobbs Ferry would have a close match with Millbrook, if they met for a rematch, and Spackenkill beat the Blazers twice. Again, every team matches up differently with another team. Both teams — Dobbs Ferry and Spackenkill — are talented; I know that the Eagles want to get to Glens Falls, but I also know that the Spartans are not going to make that dream a reality with ease.
Even if its not undefeated, I still feel that this is a much stronger, more well-rounded Dobbs Ferry team than last year. The Eagles have more offensive weapons and appear to be balanced in almost every facet of the game. Dobbs Ferry has also proven to be relentless under pressure — coming back from 24-17 against Westlake and trailing Windsor late in one game — which is arguably the best trait to have in the postseason.
Dobbs Ferry has made it a habit over the last 15 months of cooking its morning omelet on my face, so I wouldn’t be floored if the Eagles pulled this one out, setting up another awkward you-picked-us-to-lose-and-we-won postgame interview, but I would be surprised. Other Section 1 players who have faced Spackenkill have told me the Spartans are the real deal. Not that Dobbs Ferry isn’t, but it’s food for thought.
People ask for my prediction and/or outlook and my crystal ball says Spackenkill in four. At this stage of the game, we’re going to have teams lose; Section 1 has never sent five teams to Glens Falls, let alone win state titles, so I’m likely going to have to strike the nail in the coffin with almost all teams at some point. Today is Dobbs Ferry. The more teams I cover in Glens Falls, the merrier; so again, go Eagles.
Photo credit: Carucha L. Meuse/The Journal News