Voorheesville volleyball wins its first sectional title in nine years.

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer

Battle at the net: The score was tied in the Blackbirds’ first set against Greenville on Saturday as the Spartans stormed the net; its strong defense pushed Voorheesville’s offense “by digging our attacks,” said Voorheesville’s coach, Adrian Michalski. The Birds served well with 10 aces and five errors and kept its offense spread among all its hitters. Here, Voorheesville’s Braden Racey socks the ball over the net; he had two aces, six kills, and seven digs.

VOORHEESVILLE — The Voorheesville volleyball team won its first sectional title in nine years behind the leadership of a former player.

Adrian Michalski, who won back-to-back regional championships with Voorheesville a decade ago, has coached the Birds back to glory. Senior Devin Racey said that “everything was better” after Michalski took over the team in 2013-14.

“People got a lot more excited about volleyball, and started to have some real fun,” said Racey, Voorheesville’s setter. “It was a huge change in attitude, style, and philosophy — more advanced coaching. We started taking it more seriously, and focused on winning.”

Voorheesville won the Section 2 Class C championship over Greenville, 3 to 0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-17), last Saturday. The Blackbirds play for a regional title this Saturday at Maple Hill at 3:30 p.m. against the Section 3 winner.

“It is special, and it hasn’t quite sunk in yet,” Michalski said; he was one of three triplets that used to light up the volleyball court for Voorheesville. “I wanted to give back to a program that gave me so much when I was playing.”

Michalski told The Enterprise that he built a system with good players from all different kinds of athletic backgrounds. “It doesn’t have to be so simplified,” he said. “You focus on basic skills at first, and then build that knowledge. Passing, setting, and spiking — those skills develop from beginning to end.”

Racey, on varsity since his freshman year, said that Voorheesville has played more aggressively under Michalski. “In the past, if a set wasn’t perfect, we’d send a free ball over the net,” he said. “Coach adjusted our approach and positioning.”

Voorheesville’s success revolves around Racey’s setting, Michalski said. “He continued to work, and the rest of the team followed suit,” he said. “Having a good setter makes a world of difference. He sees the ball early and sets it up. If you have confidence in the set, you can focus on passing and spiking.”

Saturday’s regional final is the end of Voorheesville’s season. Only Section 2 and Section 3 have winter volleyball for Class C and B.

“Trusting your ability as a team is all you can do,” Michalski said.

“Consistency has been a huge factor,” Racey said. “Coach says that we can go as far as we want if we put in the work.”

Blackbird in flight: Devin Racey, in mid-air, returns a volley. The senior setter led Voorheesville with three aces, six kills, 19 assists, and 12 digs during its sectional title win over Greenville. Schuyler King had two aces, five kills, and six digs; Kristian Singh had two aces and nine kills; and Erik Patak had 10 digs for the Birds. The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer

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