Program News‎ > ‎News Reporting‎ > ‎

Bethlehem boys volleyball claims fourth straight title over Shenendehowa, 3-0

posted Nov 3, 2014, 6:01 AM by John Coletta

By STAN HUDY
shudy@saratogian.com
@StanHudy on Twitter

BURNT HILLS — For the Bethlehem boys varsity volleyball team it was once again the sweet smell of success while for Shenendehowa, they were left with the bitter taste of disappointment as the Eagles captured their fifth straight Section II Division I title and the fourth straight time that they dismissed the Plainsmen.

On Saturday afternoon at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, the only place where Bethlehem has known defeat during the Suburban Council regular season, the Eagles won in straight sets 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 for their fifth straight title.

The five-time champions never had a chance to run away with any set, leading by five points only once, in the first set and then stretching their lead to four on three separate occasions.

“Shen played as well as I’ve ever seen them, they played great today,” Bethlehem coach James O’Keefe said. “I thought they had a great game plan and switched things around since the last time we played them and because of those changes they played really well.”

The Eagles were also playing without all-star John Sica sidelined with an injury, giving the Plainsmen an opportunity to end the streak.

“Our game plan was to try and keep things very simple, not try to overdo it and be too tricky, but play clean volleyball and try to eliminate as many errors as we can,” Shenendehowa coach John Coletta said. “This year our goal to success has been to serve the ball really well.

“We served the ball well today, but not as well as we have,” Coletta said. “If we served it as well as we did in the semifinal I think it would be a different outcome.”

Shenendehowa pressured Bethlehem in the first set, knotting the contest seven times and taking the lead four times with O’Keefe pleading with his players to put the Plainsmen away.

“If you give another team hope, they are going to have hope the whole game and they’re not going to roll over, they are going to keep playing as hard as they can,” Bethlehem junior outside hitter Aaron Carrk said. “That’s everything to them, one set loss for us is no big deal, but if we give them that it wouldn’t be as satisfying.”

The experience and the depth of the Eagles squad gave them the win courtesy of a kill by Carrk for the 25-23 first set win.

“We got up by a few points at the end and we weren’t finishing, we weren’t closing, especially in the first and second game,” O’Keefe said. “We had game point and we served a ball long.

First game they almost came back and ended up winning because of that,” O’Keefe said. “The second game, luckily we were able to make a nice pass off the service and win it.”

Duncan Homer led the Eagles with 26 assists and Kevin Cahill provided 10 kills on the afternoon. The Plainsmen saw Mitchell DeBortoli provide 11 kills to go with his three blocks and Dominique Ives had five blocks on the day.

Coletta has faced this before, as the JV coach for the Plainsmen, falling to Bethlehem year after year, but has hope.

“When I was the JV coach it was a good four or five years in a row, me against the same coach, now it happens to be against a different coach at this level, but eventually we pulled it off at the JV level, just like our JV did this year,” Coletta said. “I am fully confident that if we focus on the simple parts of our game and do simple well, we’ll be an effective team.

“When you are talking immediately after this game, a sectional loss it’s tough to look to the future,” Coletta said. “But it’s coming.”

Bethlehem will travel to face Section I champion Suffern on Wednesday at 5 p.m. The winner will advance to the regional final at Cicero-North Syracuse Nov. 8. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association finals will be in Glens Falls Nov. 14 and 15.
Comments