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Lake Placid regains Class D volleyball crown
November 5, 2018

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BEEKMANTOWN - The Section VII, Class D volleyball trophy is back in Lake Placid.

Until last year, Lake Placid had chalked up four consecutive championships before Class D rival Northern Adirondack snatched the crown away.

On Saturday, the Blue Bombers got that title back with a 3-1 victory over the Bobcats in the last of three finals played at Beekmantown High School. Lake Placid was on the verge of taking the first game before falling 24-26, but from there, the Blue Bombers went on a roll to win the next three games by 25-19, 25-19 and 25-12 scores.

Lake Placid's first-year head coach Sandy Huber said she was concerned after seeing her team a point away from taking a 1-0 edge in an opening game that ultimately saw the Bobcats climb back from a 24-20 deficit to grab the early lead. Huber's players, however, laid those worries to rest by sweeping the next three games to give the Blue Bombers their fifth title in the past six years.

"We were a point away from winning that first game, and then we couldn't buy a point," Huber said. "Losses like that could have been devastating. We were so close to winning, our girls decided that wasn't right, and they didn't want to give up any more streaks.

"Coming into the match, we were confident all week in practice, this game is all about confidence, and they stepped up and got that confidence back after a tough first game," Huber added. They just fought and fought, and I'm really happy with the outcome."

Huber said the Blue Bombers benefited from a strong serving performance by the entire team. Grace Crawford led the effort, finishing with 11 aces and four points. Rose Burns, one of two seniors in a young Lake Placid lineup, added another five aces and eight points in the victory. Huber also credited freshman Izzy Armstrong for her serves in the match.

"Serving is the only thing you can control. We got great efforts across the board," Huber said, adding her team has come a long way since the start of the season. "During the first half of the season, we were letting a lot of balls drop. We've ironed out a lot of that. During the second half of the season, we were much more competitive, scoring a lot more points."

Although Lake Placid made a run of four sectional crowns in a row prior to last year, none of the players on this year's team had tasted postseason success. Huber said she knew her team was nervous prior to the final.

"Rose Burns and Barrett Smith are our two seniors who wanted to go out with a title, and we had five sophomores playing in their first sectional match," she said. "They were really nervous before the match. Heading in, Rose and I had a really nice talk, and I told her 'This isn't going going to be your last match,' and it wasn't. Everybody came through for us.

"It felt great," Huber continued. "For our seniors, it was their last chance, and for our sophomores, the performance was really promising."

On Saturday, as well as during the entire season, the Blue Bombers have been playing in honor of junior teammate Sara McKillip, who is currently in Boston receiving treatment for cancer. Lake Placid's players, as well as Huber, have gone through the season with McKillip's No. 4 marked on their hands. Ironically, during the final timeout of the match, Lake Placid was four points away from clinching the title, and that fact didn't escape the team members or their coach.

"When we realized that significance, all the kids kind of lit up," Huber said. "They went out and got it done. Wow."

The win was just the third of the season for Lake Placid, but Huber said her team has been competitive playing against the large schools in a strong Champlain Valley Athletic Conference volleyball league. The Blue Bombers now advance to face Section II champion Mayfield in regional action Tuesday at Gloversville High School. That match will start at 7:30 p.m. following Saranac Lake's Class C encounter with Vorheesville.

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