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Sports Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, November 3, 2011

Epic semifinal match
Buoyed by the rising tide of the Red Sea, Lady Dutch win stunning semifinal match

By Jordan J. Michael

ALBANY –– The roof was going to blow off of Albany High School. A volleyball match of epic proportions was happening inside. The din from the crowd reverberated off the brick walls. The play on the court was fast-paced and exacting.

The Lady Dutch of Guilderland won the first two sets (25-21, 25-20) of Wednesday night’s Class AA semifinal, but Columbia regained momentum to take the next two (25-20, 25-13).

Guilderland won the fifth set, 27 to 25, but not before a whirlwind of events that repeatedly brought the crowd to its feet. The Lady Dutch were down, 11 to 16, but stormed back to tie the game at 21 to 21.

Each team served once for the match, but the score was leveled at 25 to 25. It could have gone on forever. At last, the score tipped in Guilderland’s favor. Mayhem ensued as the shrieks of the Lady Dutch players were drowned out by the roar of the crowd.

Guilderland and Columbia showed marvelous strength and recovery throughout, digging up balls from every possible nook and cranny. Some of the volleys seemed interminable; players on both sides dove and wove, keeping the ball in constant if erratic motion.   

Junior Allison VanDoren, who hammered out 12 kills for Guilderland, told The Enterprise that it was hard to concentrate with all of the noise from the rambunctious crowd. “We’re good at pulling things together,” she said.

Guilderland Head Coach Jessica Allen said that Wednesday’s match resembled “a sprint in slow motion.” She’s never been part of such an intense contest.

“It’s an amazing feeling to see your team accomplish something like this,” Allen said. “They pushed, pushed, and never gave up. They aimed for their goal and its got to feel good.”

The Blue Devils beat the Lady Dutch twice during the regular season, but Guilderland wasn’t deterred. The Lady Dutch players were pumped up to the max last night, just like the faithful fan base that showed up for support. The Red Sea was an arsenal of positive energy.

“We beat them with all of the energy that we had,” said VanDoren, who also added 12 digs and five service points.

The Lady Dutch had to fight for its spot in the semifinals after dropping the first two sets to Saratoga last Friday. It now faces top-seed Shenendehowa at 5 p.m. on Friday at Burnt Hills for the finals.

The Guilderland girls will have the Red Sea for back-up.

“They believed that they could do it,” Allen said, with a smile.

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