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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 29, 2011

New coach, same winning goals for Blackbird volleyball team

By Jordan J. Michael

VOORHEESVILLE –– A new coach came in, some important players graduated, but one element remains the same: dominance.

The word “dominance” was just one of many terms that defined the 2010 Voorheesville girls’ volleyball team last year. The team went undefeated at 22-0 before losing a taxing Class C state final match to Falconer. At 7-0 this season, the 2011 squad seems to be on its way to repeating recent history after easily taking care of Albany Academy on Tuesday.

Voorheesville is winning in similar fashion to last season, but under new Head Coach Ashley Swint; she replaced long-time coach Sandy Vorse, who retired last year. Swint said that Vorse made the transition very easy, setting up team camp, skill camp, and tournaments for 2011.

“I know that Sandy ran a great program and she’s been nothing but helpful,” Swint said. “I knew this was going to be a challenge, but I’m willing to take it on.”

Swint is a graduate of Berne-Knox-Westerlo. She played volleyball there, as well as two more years at Herkimer Community College. She coached the Northeast Thunder Volleyball Club for five years, instructing 14-, 16-, and 18-year-olds.

“I already knew most of these girls because all the club teams play each other,” said Swint of the Voorheesville players. “I’m very fortunate to walk into a team that works so hard. It makes my job fun.”

Returning from last year’s state final team are seniors Sarah Dykstra, Sarah Williams, and Jessica Brower; junior Mariel McGinnis; and sophomores Libby Bjork and Caroline Bablin. New to the team are Emma Sprotbery, Bryn Davies, and Tori Hargrave.

“They’re definitely a team,” Swint said. “They may need to talk on the court a little more, but they just want to play. They’re always happy.”

The Lady Blackbirds have seen its toughest competition at two tournaments –– Hendrick-Hudson and Millbrook. Voorheesville went 7-1 in pool play at Millbrook, losing in the semi-finals to Cornwall, the eventual winner of the event.

“It’s been phenomenal,” Swint said of tournament play. “The level of play is much higher and we could see some of those teams in sectionals.”

Voorheesville has made going back to the Class C states an objective. “We’re working towards that,” said Swint. “Yeah, there’s pressure, but we have tons of support. These girls live for volleyball and it’s fun when people recognize that.”

On Saturday, the Blackbirds will host its annual VolleyFest that features nine other teams –– Tamarac, Mekeel Christian Academy, Bishop Ludden, Maple Hill, Galway, Chatham, Granville, Stillwater, and Greenville. Voorheesville plays in the first match at 8:30 a.m.

“Every girl says that it’s the best day of the year,” Swint said. “I think one of them even said that it’s better than Christmas.”

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