GLENS FALLS, N.Y. — When the Bayport-Blue Point girls volleyball team broke its huddle before the sixth set of the afternoon Saturday at the Glen Falls Civic Center and went on the court to perform preset rituals, such as original handshakes, flying high-fives and heel taps, it was a bittersweet moment.
On one hand, the players knew it was the final time they’d do it as a team after losing four of the first five sets and being eliminated from playing in Sunday’s state championship match. But they knew they were the first Bayport-Blue Point team to do it in Glens Falls in the state Class B semifinals.
“We’ve gone a lot further than I thought we would, which is great,” senior outside hitter Abby Auwaerter said. “I’m so proud of all my teammates. They really stepped it up. I know as a sophomore, I didn’t realize how important it was but they’re way beyond my years and they realize how important it is and I think they’ll just get better from here.”
And those same underclassmen, such as juniors Lauren Wilke, Olivia Kane, sophomores Cathleen Farrell, Marissa Laterra, Isabella Imbo, Shannon Carey and Emma Fiorentin credited seniors like Auwaerter and libero Emma Davern for taking the program to new heights.
“We knew how much this meant to them,” Wilke said, “and I know when I’m a senior, I’m going to want the underclassmen to step up the same way.”
The Phantoms (14-1) went 1-5 in pool play, its lone win coming 25-22 over Hudson Falls after dropping the opening set, 25-15. Bayport-Blue Point lost close matches — 25-23 and 25-20 to Owego and 25-23, 25-17 to Honeoye Falls-Lima.
“It doesn’t get better than this,” coach Toni Mulgrave said. “I’ve never been this far. These girls came up here and competed. They didn’t blow us out. You can’t ask for anything more except for winning but outside of that, that’s why you play the games.”
“We’re just proud our year could bring them here for the first time,” Davern said, “and I only hope they can come back.”
With the abundance of youth on the Phantoms’ roster, there’s no reason to lower expectations. They knocked off Glenn, who won 16 straight Suffolk B titles, before defeating Seaford in the Long Island championship.
“I’m glad that I get to realize what this is like so that way next year when I am a senior if we do make it back here — and I really hope we do — everyone knows what it’s like,” Wilke said.
“Nobody can be upset with this,” Davern added with a smile.