Tough loss ends strong Rondout run
NEWBURGH >> A repeat as Section 9, Class B volleyball champions was not in the cards for Rondout Valley High as it lost a spirited five-set battle with Spackenkill in the finals at Mount Saint Mary College.
Spackenkill won its first section crown in two years and its first ever as a B school as the Spartans rallied down two sets to one to win 17-25, 28-26, 22-25, 25-16, 25-13.
The Spartans, who won in 2014 as a Class C school, will take on Section 1’s Pawling in a regional semifinal 3 p.m. Wednesday at SUNY Ulster.
Julieanne McKee (22 assists,
three kills, two blocks, two aces) and Nini Sher (19 kills, seven aces) led Spackenkill. Amaya Anderson (seven kills, two blocks, two aces), Taylor Gennodie (six kills, three assists, three aces), Samantha Wile (seven kills) and Maya-K Johnson (three kills, two assists, two aces) also paced the Spartans.
Mira Bozman (six kills, nine assists, 14 digs), Meaghan Romaguera (16 kills, 10 digs), Mackenzie Fischer (14 digs, three aces, four blocks) and Charley Nyzio (25 digs, three aces) led the way for (12-2) Rondout.
The Ganders’ only loss in the regular season was to Wallkill. They avenged that by defeating the Panthers in their first Mid-Hudson Athletic League semifinal appearance in 17 years. Spackenkill beat them in the finals.
“We were hoping to flip the thing around this time,” Rondout coach Thomas Ticknor said. “It just quite didn’t work out.”
The Ganders won the first set, closing it out with four points as Mary Sommer and Romaguera scored off Bozman assists, Fischer dealt an ace and Romaguera won it off a Sommer set.
The second set had the score tied 11 times. The Spartans had to fight off three set points before finally getting three points on a pair of Rondout errors and an Anderson ace to win.
The Ganders went ahead 2-1 after rallying from a 1914 deficit and scoring the final six points to win the third set.
Spackenkill was able to capitalize on 13 Rondout miscues to even the match and forced a decisive fifth and final set.
Rondout had learned from its experience of playing the Spartans in the MHAL title match and made some corrections.
“We executed those adjustments in the two games we won today and, in the games we lost, they did to us exactly what we were trying to do to them,” Ticknor said. “They just executed better than we did. The middle was open. They hit it and we didn’t.”
Sher took control in the final set. She scored on a pair of McKee assists and served a pair of aces as the Spartans jumped out to a 10-1 lead. In spite of timeouts and adjustments, Rondout could never mount a counterattack. Wile scored championship point for Spackenkill with a kill.
“It was a great season. We started off with some tough spots to fill with last year’s seniors going out. We lost some key positions. We lost our setter and our strong outside hitter,” said Ticknor, the junior varsity coach last year who took over for Megan Marquis, who led Rondout last year to its first section title since ‘99. Marquis could not return because of family reasons.
“I also have to give credit to Megan Marquis, who coached the team up to this point. She prepared the girls we had coming in,” Ticknor noted.
“Considering what we started with and where we ended up, I’m really proud of the girls. They did a super job,” he added. “It was a team that kept finding a way to win in the end. We just came up a little bit short today.”
The situation will be a lot tougher in 2017. The Ganders lose five seniors, including starters in Bozman, Romaguera, middle hitter Cheyenne Mitchell, plus the libero (Nyzio).
“We’re going to have to fill some more significant holes for next year’s team,” Ticknor said.