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Ward Melville misses cut in state volleyball

Ward Melville's Emily Astarita tips the ball over

Ward Melville's Emily Astarita tips the ball over the net. (Nov. 17, 2012) Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

GLENS FALLS, N.Y. -- Losing in a state championship tournament is hard enough, but coming as close as Ward Melville did to advancing to the state title match was nothing short of heartbreaking.

The Patriots had a 3-1 record heading into the final round of pool play Saturday, but lost two tight games to Our Lady of Mercy-Brighton, 23-25, 21-25, and watched as Baldwinsville narrowly swept Clarkstown South to seal Ward Melville's fate, and set up a Baldwinsville-Mercy matchup in Sunday's Class AA title match.

In the final round of pool play, Ward Melville needed to win one game against Mercy to force a one-game playoff for a bid to the final, but came up short.

"I think we gave it our best, we left it out there," senior Kristin Bendy said. "We should have had it, but it happens."

The Patriots led for most of the first game against Mercy, but found themselves tied at 20. Freshman Alex Stein gave the Patriots a 21-20 lead and Bendy's kill tied it at 23 once Mercy took its first lead at 22-23, but back-to-back points by Mercy handed Ward Melville a loss. In the second, Ward Melville came as close as 21-19 before Mercy pulled away.

The Patriots though were still alive, and needed Baldwinsville to lose one of its two remaining games against winless Clarkstown South to force the one-game playoff for a spot in the state title match.

Baldwinsville trailed for most its first game against Clarkstown South, but came back to win it 26-24. Baldwinsville easily won the second game, 25-12, eliminating Ward Melville.

"I think we had a great year," Bendy said. "I'm so happy with this team, I just wish we could have put it out a little bit more."

For the tournament, Emily Astarita had 33 kills, Bendy had 21 kills, Jackie Derosa had 20 digs and Kellie Rizzo had 43 assists.

The Patriots were 17-0 this season and won their seventh Long Island championship when they swept Massapequa on Nov. 13.

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