GLENS FALLS -The Johnstown Lady Bills played some of their best volleyball of the season Saturday, but it did not produce the result they were looking for.
Playing in final four of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B championship tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center, Johnstown led in each of their six games in pool play.
However, it wasn't the Lady Bills' day as they finished 0-6 in pool play and didn't advance out of the semifinals, ending the year at the Civic Center without a win for the second straight season.
Johnstown’s Zara Hyde (6) drives the ball over the net as Pelham’s Megan Krause goes for the block Saturday at the NYSPHSAA championship tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Johnstown’s Elizabeth Hayward digs the ball on a kill attempt by Pelham Saturday at the NYSPHSAA Class B championship tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
Johnstown’s Alyssa Nellis (15) and Pelham’s Madeline Curto battle above the net Saturday at the NYSPHSAA championship tournament at the Glens Falls Civic Center. (The Leader-Herald/James A. Ellis)
"Unless you win it all you are always going to be disappointed after your last game," Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said. "This one day does not define our season. We had an amazing season and it ended here at the state championships. Just happened that today wasn't our day."
Johnstown placed fourth in the tournament after falling to defending Class B state champion John H. Glenn (Sect. XI) 25-17, 25-14; Skaneateles 25-22, 25-19 and Pelham 25-17 and 26-24.
"You look at 0-6 and you say 'Ugh,' but we were in the lead every game," McGuire said. "The girls played outstanding, we just didn't finish."
The Lady Bills broke out to an early 5-2 advantage over Glenn and held the defending state champion in check until the Spiders earned three straight sideouts and strung together short service runs to take a 12-11 lead.
Johnstown stayed within striking distance before Jacklyn Malusa finished a series of quick sets from Stephanie Caputo to help the Spiders pull away for a 25-17 victory.
Glenn kept the momentum going early in the second game, putting the Lady Bills in an early hole with a six-point service run by Samantha Czeczotka.
Johnstown broke the run with a well placed shot from Zara Hyde and continued to hold the Spiders to single services to tie the game at 10.
The Lady Bills could not keep the momentum going as Glenn went back to Malusa to find openings in the Johnstown defense and Stephanie Viteritti strung together a solid service run to help the Spiders cap off the 25-14 win.
Johnstown again got off to a strong start against Skaneateles in its second match of the day, pulling out to a 7-5 lead.
The Lakers' Joanna Dean put together a service run to turn a 7-7 tie into a 10-7 Skaneateles advantage.
Johnstown got back to within a point, 16-15, behind Annie Stock's service and tied the game at 19 on Elizabeth Hayward's service and kills from Hyde and Brianne O'Rourke.
The Lakers regained their advantage with a two-ace service run from Sidney Lawson and held on for the 25-22 victory.
After falling behind 3-0 in the second game, Hyde got the Lady Bills back in front 7-3 with a pair of aces and strong net play from Stock and Hannah Breda.
Johnstown remained in control until a mid-game rally brought Skaneateles back to tie the game at 16. The Lakers kept the momentum on their side of the net and closed out the 25-19 victory to improve their pool play record to 4-0 and drop Johnstown to 0-4.
The Lady Bills showed their resilience in their final pool play match against Pelham Memorial. The teams battled through four ties before Taylor Mahoney gave the Pelicans a small lead. Johnstown stayed within two points but could not string together points and fell 25-17.
After falling behind 5-1 in their final game of the day, the Lady Bills roared back to tie the Lakers and take a 17-14 lead.
Play was stopped for about 15 minutes when the Lakers' Maloney suffered a leg injury on a play at the net and had to be helped from the court.
Pelham rallied to tie the game at 23 and took a 24-23 advantage on a Tori Bowser kill. Johnstown put the score at 24 apiece on Hyde's kill but Pelham got the final two points to close out the game 26-24 and take third place in the tournament.
Hyde finished the day with 27 assists, 13 kills and 14 digs, while stock had 21 kills and 16 digs on the day. Breda chipped in with 12 kills, while Jerica Holland had 15 assists and Hayward contributed 23 digs.
Hyde and Hayward, the lone seniors on the Lady Bills, wrapped up their scholastic careers playing in the state championships.
"There are girls who can never say that," McGuire said. "Being here two years in a row is an accomplishment to be proud of. There are only five teams out of the entire state that will be able to end with a victory. The entire experience from the banquet to the opening ceremonies and then seeing amazing volleyball is incredible. Some of the best players in the entire state are here and some are watching and not playing and our seniors [Hyde and Hayward] have gotten to do it [play for a state title] twice. I am very proud of them."
Skaneateles finished pool play with a 5-1 record and advanced to play John Glenn, who finished 4-2, for the Class B championship at 10 a.m. today at the Civic Center.