Hendrick Hudson Wins 15th Section 1 Title Since 2000
Yorktown, Lakeland Knocked Off in Class A Semis
By Tony Pinciaro
When HENDRICK HUDSON and John Jay-Cross River played in September, the fans were treated to a five-set epic in which the Sailors prevailed.
Going into the Section 1 Class A Volleyball Championships, John Jay and Hen Hud were seeded first and second, respectively. As a result, it appeared the two teams were on a collision course to meet in the final.
Hen Hud and John Jay did not have it easy as the Sailors dispatched a dangerous YORKTOWN team, seeded third, in the semis. John Jay faced LAKELAND for a third time this season and beat the surging Hornets, setting up the Class A final at Pace University’s Goldstein Center.
In the highly-anticipated title match, second-seeded Hen Hud showed why it was undefeated and the defending champion.
Hen Hud swept John Jay, 25-20, 27-25, 25-23 to win Coach Diane Swertfager’s 15th Section1 championship since 2000.
The Sailors, now 21-0 this season, will play the Section 9 champion, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 7:30 p.m., at Kingston High School. The Section 9 Volleyball Championship begins play, today.
“I definitely think that this time around we were much more prepared, and focused,” said senior and Captain Callie Pidoriano. “We had been preparing all season for this game against John Jay.”
Following the first-game victory, the teams were locked in a nail-biting second game. John Jay held a 25-24 lead, but Hen Hud would not be denied. The Sailors maintained their composure and fed off their fans’ enthusiasm.
“After taking the second set I think we gained more confidence which helped us gain control early on in the third,” Pidoriano said. “We had a lot of support from our fans this game, and we were all very excited and eager to play this game. John Jay has a lot of talent and they definitely put up a great fight.”
Winning a second consecutive sectional title is just as sweet for Pidoriano and her teammates, especially the seniors.
“It feels amazing,” Pidoriano said. “It’s definitely the best feeling in the world.”
The Sailors now have 10 days off, which can be viewed as a positive and negative.
“It’s definitely nice to rest, recuperate and prepare for the next match,” Pidoriano said. “It’s a little longer than we could have wanted though because we are really on a roll right now so he faster we play the next opponent the better.
“That being said, I am not worried because we have had this much time without a game before and it is sometimes refreshing.”
Either way, Hen Hud will be ready because it does not want a replay of 2018 when Cornwall upset the Sailors in the first round of state play. This came after Hen Hud beat Cornwall in a tournament during the regular season.
“Last year’s upset was devastating for us, so I think we really remember that feeling and it drives us to work harder,” Pidoriano said.
Yorktown had its outstanding season come to a close in the Section 1 Class A semifinals to Hen Hud.
The Cornhuskers finished with a 15-5 record, the third seed in the Section 1 Class A Volleyball Championships and the knowledge that everyone returns in 2020.
“After winning out first two sectional matches, we realized how much potential we have for next year,” said junior Olivia Waschenko. “In the history of Yorktown volleyball, this year was one of the strongest records we’ve had which is so rewarding, especially with us being such a young team. Also, making it as far as the semifinals was a huge accomplishment and we are proud of ourselves.”
Yorktown advanced to the semis with a 3-1 victory over sixth-seeded Eastchester in a quarterfinal match. The Cornhuskers rang up 18 service aces in the match.
“We put so much work in this season and we’re very satisfied with the result of being in the final four. These achievements prove that our program is growing and we are excited to see how the 2020 season will go,” Waschenko said.
“We’re all super excited to be returning with the same team next year. This will be a very strong advantage for us and we can’t wait to see where we end up. Most of us will be working very hard in the off season so we can’t wait to see how much we all improve, as a whole.”
Yorktown, along with league foes Lakeland and John Jay-Cross River made the final four showing how deep, talented and competitive it is.
“We definitely have one of the most competitive leagues in the section and we’ve had it for years,” Waschenko said. “I think it’s very good practice to be in a competitive league because you won’t get any better unless you play good teams.”
Lakeland had another strong season under veteran coach Steve Fallo’s guidance.
The Hornets finished with a 15-6 record, including a berth in the final four where they lost, in four games, to top-seeded John Jay-Cross River.
Lakeland, seeded fifth, earned a berth in the final four by rallying from down two sets to overcome fourth-seeded Tappan Zee. Last year, Lakeland lost in the first round of sectionals after winning the first two games.
“The girls knew that they didn’t play well in the first two games and the goal, at that point, was to make sure that we got to play game four,” Fallo said. “The team never panicked and kept their emotions in check. We were able to win the big points when it counted in the last three games. It was a terrific team win against a very good Tappan Zee team.”
Emily Kubicsko finished with 15 kills, 20 digs, four blocks and three aces. Kayla Jennings added eight kills and three aces, Caitlin Wisker contributed six kills and four aces and Victoia Tsui collected 18 assists
In the 25-11, 24-26, 25-19, 25-23 loss to John Jay, Kubicsko had 12 kills, Wisker added eight kills and Jennings registered six kills. Tsui registered 12 assists.