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Storm volleyball rolling as playoffs approach

Katie Gay plays the ball for Saranac Lake while teammate Sydney Andronica stands at the ready during Wednesday’s match in Beekmantown. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

BEEKMANTOWN — Two down and one to go.

The Saranac Lake volleyball team took down a pair of giants to begin its final week of the Champlain Valley Athletic Conference season, and the Red Storm have one more match on tap as they finish off their schedule at home Friday against AuSable Valley

The Red Storm started the week with a four-set victory over Peru on Monday. They handed the Indians — this year’s regular-season champions — just their second loss of the season, and then headed to Beekmantown Wednesday and dealt the Eagles a 3-2 setback in a wild back-and-forth battle.

When the teams met in Saranac Lake on Oct. 3, the Red Storm gave head coach Mike Navarra his first win over the Eagles since he took over the program six years ago. Saranac Lake’s girls then completed a 2-0 season sweep on the Eagles’ court, winning a marathon by 25-23, 24-26, 25-21, 19-25 and 27-25 scores.

Saranac Lake improved to 11-4 with the win and got strong performances across the board. Defensively, Sydney Andronica registered a whopping 47 digs, and also contributed five aces and 14 points. Sisters Katie and Madie Gay also had big nights for the Red Storm. Madie Gay finished with eight kills, 25 digs and 15 points, while her sister Katie contributed six kills, 20 digs and seven points.

Meagan O’Brien sets the ball for Saranac Lake during the first set of Wednesday’s match against Beekmantown. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Also in the win, Meagan O’Brien chipped 10 digs, eight points, and 10 assists; Kelsey Leeret had five kills, 10 digs and six points; Tailor Whitson contributed six digs and five points; and Mia Sanford added five kills and two blocks.

Beekmantown headed into the match tied for second place in the league with a 12-3 mark and finished its CVAC schedule with a 12-4 record.

Saranac Lake’s losses this fall were two setbacks against Plattsburgh, one to Peru and another against AuSable Valley. If the Red Storm can turn the tables on the Patriots on Friday, they match their CVAC record from a season ago and finish in a third-place tie with Beekmantown in the league standings.

The Red Storm will be honoring their five seniors in Friday’s match, and its a quintet looking for a sectional postseason three-peat. Those seniors are Andronica, O’Brien, Katie and Madie Gay and Nora Glover, who has been out of the lineup recently due to an illness.

After wrapping up CVAC play, Saranac Lake will then begin its quest for a third-straight Section VII, Class C title. That begins Wednesday when the Red Storm host Northeastern Clinton in a semifinal contest starting at 6 p.m.

Navarra gives all the credit to his seniors, who he dubbed “The Fab Five.”

“Four years ago, I graduated 11 girls and basically I had two hopes for the following season — Bob Hope and no hope — of winning with a team of sophomores,” he quipped. “But after four games, we were unbeaten, and at that time, not only did I think they could win sectional championships, I think they could win a state title.

“Where these girls are now, it’s a consolidation of their hard work, their determination and their commitment. They did year-round workouts, clinics, camps, tournaments. This ‘Fab Five’ are full-time committed individuals anchored by Sydney Andronica.”

Peru 3, Lake Placid 0

Although Lake Placid hasn’t had quite the volleyball success that Saranac Lake has experienced in the regular season, the playoffs have been a different story for the Blue Bombers.

Lake Placid lost its CVAC finale to Peru on Wednesday to finish with a 2-14 record, as the Indians posted a 3-0 sweep to finish with a 14-2 record. But with the regular-season out of the way, the Blue Bombers will now attempt to win their seventh Class D crown in the past eight years.

As the only Class D squads in Section VII, Lake Placid and Northern Adirondack have battled it out year after year in the championship match. The Blue Bombers owned a run of five titles in a row, the Bobcats took the championship in 2017 and Lake Placid grabbed it back a year ago. The teams split their two contests in CVAC play this season.

They’ll meet up in the Class D final on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Saranac Central starting at 11 a.m.