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Shen boys volleyball heads to fourth-straight Section II final with 3-0 win over Guilderland

posted Oct 31, 2014, 5:57 AM by John Coletta

By Chris Maley
@Cmale730 on Twitter

BURNT HILLS - When the Shenendehowa High School boys volleyball team faced Guilderland in the regular season, Dutchmen outside hitter Mark Fyvie gave the Plainsmen trouble en route to a grueling five-set Shen victory.

In Wednesday’s Division I semifinal against the Dutchmen at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, Shen ensured Fyvie had as little impact as possible on the outcome of the match, and Shen made quick work of the Guilderland en route to a 3-0 (25-7, 30-28, 25-22) win at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School.

With the win, the No. 2-seeded Plainsmen (14-5, 15-6) clinched a berth in their fourth consecutive Section II Division I championship game.

“Our key to success was our serving. We were able to serve in a way that kept the ball from Mark Fyvie, the best hitter on their team, and that was our gameplan,” Shenendehowa coach John Coletta said. “We tried to keep (Guilderland) on their heels so (Fyvie) couldn’t get his best swing. If we put them into their best offensive play, things could have been a little different.”

Shen will face top-seeded Bethlehem (17-2) in the title match at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, while Guilderland concluded its season at 10-8.

“That second set we let (Shen) go up 7-1 and that was the difference,” Guilderland coach Nick Warren said. “Overall, we put up a heck of a performance. They gave everything they had, putting balls away and not letting them come back. It’s always a good battle with Shen.”

Both squads played to a 7-7 tie to open the first game, but Shen registered 18 points in a row to close out the stanza. Senior Reid Hartl (four aces), along with Dylan Lee and Tyler Schnaible each provided quality serving for the Plainsmen in the game.

“I think the main thing that helped was our serving. We served them right off the court and that’s what we worked on in practice,” junior Alex Debortoli said. “We served to spots and it was good.”

The Dutchmen took the Plainsmen to the brink in the second game, rallying from a 23-18 deficit to eventually tie the contest at 24 apiece. Guilderland took a 27-26 lead but Shen outside hitter Evan Biittig’s kill knotted the game back up at 27 apiece.

On the next point, Shen libero Evan Ernst made an outstanding save to keep the ball in play and Debortoli finished the point off with a kill. The Plainsmen won two of the next three points to close out the contest 30-28, with Lee contributing the game-ending kill in the short-side right corner.

“We’ve been in that situation before,” said Debortoli, who tallied a game-high 14 kills to go along with three blocks. “We went five sets with them before so we knew we had to push as hard as we could because that’s what they were doing us. To win that game we had to make the best of every point.”

Coletta was pleased to see his team fend off a gritty Guilderland squad in the second game.

“We were tied at the end and I said ‘do what you have to do to grind out a point and win it,’” he said. “To credit Guilderland, they had us on our heels in that set and I think our guys expected to win, but they definitely had to earn it. We did and we found that point.”

The Dutchmen tested the Plainsmen in the third game, coming back with four straight points after trailing 24-18. With the score 24-22, Sean Dillon blocked Fyvie’s kill attempt at the net to seal the victory.

“(Fyvie) really did everything he could to win and we had to work around that,” Debortoli said.

Coletta is looking forward to the challenge of facing the Eagles in the title match.

“Very exciting to be able to play Bethlehem on Saturday,” he said. “Our gameplan is to play simple, get out there, stay relaxed and give it everything we have.”