Sitting at 22-0 overall, the Dolgeville Lady Blue Devils volleyball team is one match from an overall Section III Class C title and a trip to the regional championship.
After finishing last year 24-0 and winning the regional championship, the program is on the verge of repeating with another undefeated record.
Section III Class C-1 champ Tully remains the biggest threat to that feat, as the Section III champions have traditionally had a lot of success at regionals.
However, to say the Lady Blue Devils could be about to do something special would not do justice to what they’ve already done this season.
Last season, Dolgeville dominated throughout the season with several veteran players, but lost a lot to graduation. This year, there are just three returning Lady Blue Devils from that regional championship team.
With eight first-year varsity players, the program never missed a beat.
Throughout the season, Dolgeville’s girls have lost three games, no more than one in any match. One of those three games was Saturday against the LaFayette Lancers (25-21) in the Section III Class C-2 championship match at Jamesville-DeWitt High School. One came in the first match of the season against Frankfort-Schuyler (25-22) and the other came against Oppenheim-Ephratah (25-23).
The entire team contributes with a rotation that coach Barb Allen put together so each player can rotate in to a position where they can best help the team. Many high school volleyball teams have a seven- or eight-player rotation with the most experienced players getting the majority of the court time and the others just getting warmed up for the next season.
Dolgeville’s whole-team rotation gives the less-experienced players the responsibility of playing as well as the seasoned veterans across the net.
The first-year players have answered the call this season and backed up returners Juleah Vedder, Natasha Mamrosh and Kathleen Pescatore.
They could easily have come into the preseason intimidated by the success of the departed graduates. Instead, they have decided they want a regional banner of their own. The program has won 46-straight matches, not including the weekend tournaments, which follow a different format and are not counted toward the season record.
Regardless of how the girls close out the season — and my money’s on undefeated — they’ve already etched their names into the foundation of the Dolgeville volleyball program, regardless of whether those names will appear sewn on a regional banner.
If they do finish with another banner, Vedder will have her name on the wall a third time. In addition to being a part of last year’s title run, she was on their championship team in 2004 as an eighth-grader.
Losing them to graduation won’t be easy, but considering what the newcomers have helped the seniors achieve this season, it will be another reloading season for the Lady Blue Devils next year with eight potential returners.
Just try to wrap your mind around that.
These first-year varsity girls already play like they’re the old pros of the section. They’ve never lost a varsity match. With just three returners this year, they’re undefeated. They get eight next year.
If I were a Section III Class C volleyball player, I’d start practicing for next year — and most have nothing better to do right about now.