ALBANY - Zara Hyde set the tone for the Johnstown Lady Bills early in Wednesday's Section II Class B semifinal match with Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons.
The senior served up six straight points, including three aces, to open the match and 68 minutes later, the top-seeded Lady Bills finished off a sweep of the fourth-seeded Lady Knights, 25-16, 25-18 and 25-10.
"That was pretty quick," Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said of her team's semifinal victory. "It's nice but really there also are two very good teams playing tonight, Ravena and Schalmont. It's going to be tough and I'm sure that isn't going to be a 68-minute match."
Johnstown’s Annie Stock (12) and Brianne O’Rourke (14) team up to block the kill attempt by Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons’ Caroline Bouchard (2) during a Class B semifinal match Wednesday at Albany High School. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
McGuire was correct.
Third-seeded Schalmont rallied from a 2-0 deficit to oust No. 2 Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21 and 25-22. The Sabres advanced to face the defending Section II Class B championship at 8 p.m. Friday at Stillwater High School.
The Lady Bills (15-3) backed up Hyde's game-opening run with solid defense to go with powerful hits from outside hitters, Annie Stock and Hannah Breda.
Class AA Semifinals
Guilderland 3, Columbia 2
(22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 25-16, 25-20)
Shenendehowa 3, Shaker 0
(25-10, 25-10, 25-17)
Class A Semifinals
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake 3, Niskayuna 0
(25-6, 25-16, 25-7)
Queensbury 3, South Glens Falls 1
(25-19, 18-25, 25-13, 25-19)
Class B Semifinals
Johnstown 3, Bishop Gibbons 0
(25-16, 25-18, 25-10)
Schalmont 3, Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk 2
(23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-22)
Class C Semifinals
Voorheesville 3, Loudonville Christian 0
(25-8, 25-17, 25-13)
Greenville 3, Hoosic Valley 1
(25-23, 25-22, 21-25, 25-23)
Class D Semifinals
Argyle 3, Waterford 1
(25-18, 25-20, 25-27, 25-16)
Hartford 3, Lake George 0
(25-14, 25-16, 25-22)
The Lady Knights never got closer than three points of the Lady Bills, who used a second extended service run by Hyde to break the game open and put the opener away 25-16.
Bishop Gibbons changed its approach in the second game and broke the Lady Bills playing rhythm. The Lady Knights took their first lead of the night, 7-6 on a service ace by Kimberly Fox but could not pull away as the Lady Bills earned crucial side outs.
Again, Hyde was at the service line as the Lady Bills charged back in front 10-9 and pulled away for the 25-18 victory.
"What happens is that some teams give you the ball back at a different tempo," McGuire said. "Sometimes when the speeds are different than we are used to it messes up our defense. They had to adjust a little bit but eventually they got the hang of it and pulled it out."
The second-game victory appeared to swing all the momentum to the Johnstown side of the net as the Bishop Gibbons players could not string more than two service points together and the Johnstown hitters' kill shots finished with a purpose as the Lady Bills closed out the sweep with a 25-10 victory.
Hyde finished the match with 18 service points, six aces, eight kills, 14 assists and seven digs. Stock recorded 12 kills, 11 digs and a pair of aces, while Breda had seven kills and Jerica Holland contributed 10 assists, six digs and three aces.
Iman Harris' four kills paced Bishop Gibbons. Cassie Nosal had five blocks for the Lady Knights, Emily Brown finished with 11 assists and six digs, and Ejada Montgomery had 17 digs.