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Glenn girls volleyball took care of unfinished business with state title

John Glenn are Class B champions after defeating

John Glenn are Class B champions after defeating Hendrick Hudson at the NYSPHSAA Volleyball State Championships held at Cool Insuring Arena, Glens Falls, NY on Sun., Nov. 21, 2021. Credit: Errol Anderson

The Glenn girls volleyball team walked off the court in Glens Falls after completing pool play on November 20 having gotten a good look at Westchester’s Hendrick Hudson, who they’d have to beat the next day to capture the program's first state title since 2012.

The Knights went 5-1 in pool play, splitting sets with Hendrick Hudson after sweeping their other two opponents.

"We actually were watching them before we played them in pool play and I wanted us to switch things up so I was lined up on their big hitter," senior Shannon McGrath said. "It didn’t work out the way we wanted so the next day we came in and changed our rotation and adjusted to their offense and it saved us, it put the best lineup out there for us to succeed."

Like they had all season, the adjustments worked, and gave Glenn a leg up in its 25-21, 20-25, 25-23, 25-21, victory to capture the state Class B title.

"It was surreal," McGrath said. "We always knew we could get there but it almost felt like we were dreaming. It was everything we wanted it to be. To get to experience and accomplish all of the goals we’ve been striving for, none of us would trade it for the world."

Glenn (18-0) entered the season with the motto of ‘unfinished business’ after winning the Suffolk title in the shortened spring season but having it end there because there were no Long Island or state championships due to COVID-19.

This was a senior-laden group that had been working together for three seasons, hoping to one day bring a state title back to Glenn.

"Our sophomore season there was a lot of pressure on us but we fell short and our team was so young," McGrath said. "At that point winning states was hardly an idea but we always put our goal at winning counties and Long Island."

Over the ensuing years the team came together as a cohesive unit, relying not only on their talent and athleticism but also their ability to size up opponents and make adjustments on the fly because of the experience they had gained playing together.

"I think they did a great job understanding their opponents," Glenn coach Nick Tremaroli said. "They have great drive and do great under pressure. In those tough moments they always keep their composure and put up a fight and always pull through."

McGrath led the team this season with 167 kills and they also got key contributions from seniors Carmela Ciriello (335 digs, 67 kills), Shayna Purow (340 assists), Diana Muniz (620 digs), Isabella Ross (74 kills), Lauren Conover (56 kills) and Sarah Koerner (99 digs, 29 kills).

"This was our last chance to do what we needed to do," McGrath said. "As we got closer to states we were like ‘wow we could actually do this’ and it started to feel real and attainable. We knew we needed to leave everything out there and we were able to go do things we could hardly ever imagine."

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