continued “A lot has to do with the set. If she doesn’t have the right set [from a teammate], she wouldn’t try to go for the kill,” said coach Burgher. “Niskayuna was very good at blocking, too. So, it was very iffy if she was going to get it.”
It wasn’t until the fourth game when Burgher reached her milestone, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Trailing 21-16, Burgher spiked the ball into a tight space between two Niskayuna defenders to reach 1,000 kills and give the Eagles new life in the game.
“It was on my mind,” said Hattie. “I was going back and forth between how many kills I had to go and how many points were left in the match.”
Once Burgher had her milestone, Loudonville Christian focused on winning the fourth game and the match, but Niskayuna had other ideas. The Eagles won six of the next eight points to tie the game at 23 before the Silver Warriors took the next two points to earn a 25-23 victory and force a fifth game. Niskayuna pulled away for a 25-16 win in the final game to take the match 3-2.
“I tell the kids that we have to finish in three [games] because we don’t have the stamina,” said coach Burgher. “We don’t have the kids to make all the substitutions that we need to make.”
Still, neither Burgher was disappointed by the outcome of the match.
“To me, [the loss] didn’t really overshadow what I did that night,” said Hattie. “Niskayuna is a great team, and we fought hard. Sometimes, that’s all you can do.”
“Honestly, my girls played well, so I was happy,” said Rosemary. “We absolutely had fun. Yes it was intense, but the kids finally got the chance to use all of their skills in a match.”
Loudonville Christian’s focus now shifts back to wrapping up its sixth consecutive CHVL championship and the upcoming Section II Class C tournament, where the Eagles are looking to advance into the state tournament.
“I think it’s going to take an extreme amount of determination not just from me, but from the whole team,” said Hattie.