LAKE PLACID - Looking at the numbers, it's tough to believe that Lake Placid would have had much of a chance to defeat Northern Adirondack in Saturday's Section VII, Class D volleyball final at Clinton Community College.
After all, the Bobcats had won an amazing 29 straight sectional titles, and it had been 21 years since the Blue Bombers had claimed any type of postseason crown in volleyball.
One person who did believe the Blue Bombers could pull off the feat was their longtime head coach Donna Moody, and her players proved her right.
Lake Placid players celebrate the school’s first sectional volleyball championship since 1992 after downing perennial champion Northern Adirondack on Saturday at Clinton Community College.
(Photo — Laurie Baumbach)
Lake Placid junior Taylor Maiorca makes a save during Saturday’s Section VII, Class D championship match against Northern Adirondack.
(Photo — Laurie Baumbach)
Lake Placid headed into the match with just two wins on a 16-game regular-season schedule, and their third win may have been the biggest in the school's volleyball history.
Lake Placid rallied from a 2-1 deficit, first by clawing back to win the fourth set and then clinching the title by pulling away for a 25-12 victory in the fifth and deciding set. Down 22-18 in the fourth set, the Blue Bombers Placid went on a roll to win 25-23, and from there, they weren't going to be denied.
"Once we made that run to win the fourth, I think our girls relaxed a little bit and understood we could do it," said Moody, who also coached the Blue Bombers the last time they earned a title, which was in 1992 when Lake Placid competed in the Mountain and Valley Athletic Conference's Marcy League and won Class D.
"I really wasn't shocked," Moody continued. "We've been close before, and it was nice to get over that hump and do it. It's been way too long. "All year long, our girls showed in spots what they were capable of doing, and when they got in the biggest game of the season, they put it all together."
The Bobcats, who finished the season at 6-11, took the first set 25-16 and the Blue Bombers evened the match with a 25-19 victory in the second. NAC won the third 25-21, and was just three points away from a 30th straight championship victory in the fourth until Lake Placid mounted its memorable comeback.
Heading into the match, Moody admitted her team really didn't have anything to lose.
"There wasn't any pressure on us," Moody said. "We weren't the team who had won some umpteen sectional titles in a row. We respect what NAC has done. They come to play every match, every game and every point. I couldn't be any prouder of the girls for hanging in there and coming out with this victory. It was great to see. It was a lot of fun."
Moody said the Blue Bombers received great support on Saturday, noting that a spectator bus with students, teachers and family members traveled to Plattsburgh for the match.
By winning, Lake Placid will experience a first when it comes to volleyball as the Blue Bombers enter the opening round of the state playoffs. They will play Section X champion Chateaugay Wednesday at Massena High School starting at 5:30 p.m.
"We didn't always have the wins to show it, but we have definitely got better as the season progressed," Moody said. "It's all about learning from your mistakes, and the girls have been doing that. Now we're moving into the regional finals, and we've never done that.
"The boys soccer team is in the playoffs, five cross country runners qualified for the states, and now us," Moody added. "It's been a good fall for Lake Placid athletics."
The Blue Bombers volleyball roster includes seniors Jordyn Santana, Kayla Hudson, Alexis Megliore, Matoaka Riedl and Hanna Potter, juniors Georgia O'Leary, Ally Wallace, Taylor Maiorca and Emily Eaton, and sophomores Melissa Rath, Brenna Garrett and Kiana Fell.