GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls volleyball team does not lose often. But when it does, that loss is not wasted.
The Spartans have been chomping at the bit to return to the Class A state championship game ever since falling in that spot last year, which broke a string of two straight state titles for the program.
And when they made their return to the final Sunday afternoon, the team walked off the floor of Cool Insuring Arena with its third NYSPHSAA plaque in five seasons.
“Since the bus ride home from last year, we were saying, “We’re coming out bigger and better next year,”” said senior middle/outside hitter Leah Scalise. “All we were doing (was) playing the best that we can, and just getting better and better. Learning from each game and each team really pushed us to this point.”
Burnt Hills fended off Section VI’s Williamsville South three-sets-to-one in what proved to be a thrilling Class A state championship match.
The Spartans cruised in set one, winning 25-13, and fought back from down 13-10 at one point in set two, eventually taking it 25-19.
Williamsville South would not go quietly, though, and drew within one set after taking the third frame 25-23.
The Billies carried that momentum into the fourth set, putting Burnt Hills on its heels when they took a 15-10 advantage. But the Spartans scrapped and clawed to level the set at 17, and from there, went on a 10-7 run to lock down the match with a final score of 25-22.
“Credit to our kids – they just came back and came back; we got some big blocks when we needed to. What a weekend Abigail Harper had as our libero,” said head coach Gary Bynon. “That’s a tough thing – to be up 2-0, and all of a sudden, (potentially) lookin’ at 2-2. I’m just so proud of them.”
Senior outside hitter McKenna Law was named tournament MVP after a 11-kill effort on Sunday. She got a taste of how sweet a state title is in her sophomore season with the 2021 squad that won it all, and ending her Burnt Hills career on top is a special feeling.
“There’s so many emotions from everyone coming together,” said Law. “We all are working for the same goal, and we accomplished that. It’s happy, but sad. This is the team we’ve been playing with for so many years. For this to be my last game and half of the rest of the team’s last game, this was awesome.”
Burnt Hills concludes the season with a stellar, 41-4-1 overall record.