Blackbirds face Canton Saturday in their sixth regional final in 8 years
Voorheesville volleyball bonds through song as it hits stride in postseason./b5
The Voorheesville girls’ volleyball team is happy to bring some attention to Christmas.
That’s the genre of school-bus music that often gets crooned on the way to matches, or after wins.
The entertainment draws laughs from Blackbird players and a “too soon” from their coach.
What’s not too soon, though, is how Ashley Turski’s team has hit its stride. It has steamrolled into a sixth regional final in eight years Saturday — playing Section X’s Canton at Massena High School at 3 p.m. — thanks to some strong veterans and a steady stream of younger players that have figured out how to uphold the traditions.
“This year, realistically, our first three rotations are basically the same as last year,” Turski said. “Other kids have stepped up and moved into the other roles.”
The combination of serving and power at the net again has set the stage for Voorheesville through the Colonial Council and the rest of Class C.
That was extremely evident Tuesday in a regional semifinal against Saranac Lake. Voorheesville took it in four sets, finishing the rout with a 25-2 landslide. Yeah, you read that right: Voorheesville allowed two points.
Senior Marie Julian, a senior, went on a 13-point run that included some defensive assistance from players like middle blocker Victoria Konicki.
Voorheesville lost standout hitter Emily Bablin to graduation, while her sister, Katy, is a junior that helped lead the team to states last year. A boost has come from freshman Jada Akers, who shares rotation time at setter.
“It’s a credit to all of the passion we have within volleyball season,” Julian said, noting that a few of them play year-round together.
Konicki noted the team sings a lot (Christmas carols and Mariah Carey are big hits) to get ready. “It’s terrible,” the coach jokes. For all of their past years’ successes, the Blackbirds didn’t know if they belonged together in the early stages of this fall. They lost five of their first seven matches, capped by a Sept. 20 five-set defeat to Colonial Council rival Holy Names (“Really hard to lose to them,” Konicki said). There was also a four-set loss to fellow perennial state contender Lake George, plus a tournament in Queensbury that made the Blackbirds realize they had a lot of work to do.
“We took some really good lumps and bruises,” Turski said. “But we also learned something each time.”