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Ryan Cole excels in Sachem East's volleyball state title match loss

Sachem East's Ryan Cole, right, puts up a

Sachem East's Ryan Cole, right, puts up a block against Fairport's Josh Holm in the Division I final during the 2013 NYSPHSAA Boys Volleyball Championships. (Nov. 15, 2013) Credit: Adrian Kraus

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. - The chants of "Cole World, Cole World" rang out from the Sachem East faithful each time senior middle blocker Ryan Cole finished off a point with an emphatic kill.

The Suffolk volleyball world has belonged to Cole and Sachem East the last few weeks and the Flaming Arrows had their eyes on the state title.

But after advancing through pool play Friday to the state championship match, the Flaming Arrows fell to Section V Fairport, 25-16, 25-21, 25-22. The Flaming Arrows held leads in each of the three games, but were unable to close any of them out.

Sachem East won the county and Long Island titles for the first time this season, and advanced to the state championship game for the first time.

"This has been an amazing run and I couldn't have asked to share it with a better group of guys," Cole said. "Even though we came up on the short end, we know that we went out there and played our best the whole season. To be where we are and be the team we said we would be, to make states is something I'll never forget."

Cole finished the state championship match with 11 kills and was named to the all-tournament team. Tyler Jones was also named to the all-tournament team and finished the match with 13 assists and 10 digs.

"I couldn't be any more proud of the boys," Sachem East coach Bill Kropp said. "You don't want to say this was a miracle, but it really was. When we got together at the start of the season, I just wanted to make the playoffs and then when we qualified, I just wanted to make the final four."

The Flaming Arrows split a pair of pool play games with Fairport and then defeated Bethlehem of Section II to secure its spot in the title game.

Sachem East held leads of 13-11 and 13-7 in each of the first two games, and played Fairport closely in game three.

The team far exceeded early-season expectations.

"We were the fourth seed [in Suffolk County] and lost three games during the regular season and now we're one of the top two teams in the state," Kropp said. "It really is difficult to put into words. In my 33 years of coaching, I've never experienced a group that believed in themselves and followed through on their goals like this team."

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