In an effort to compete at a higher level, Baldwinsville's section III girls' volleyball team recently switched from the winter league to the fall league. The move proved fruitful as the team came in second place in the state competition.
We wanted to be consistent with the rest of the State of NY and play in the fall," said head coach MaryJo Cerqua. "It also gave a Section III volleyball team a chance to compete at the state level. In the winter, volleyball teams can go as far as regional competition, but that's it."
Cerqua added that moving to the fall gave the team an opportunity to play against teams who have competed at the state level for years, teams like Horseheads, Burnt Hills and Lancaster. It also opened up more recruiting opportunities, but not everyone was accommodated by the change.
Because of the switch to the fall season, a number of girls had to make very tough sport choices. For example, having to choose volleyball over another fall sport that they truly love," Cerqua said. "We have gained athletes and we have lost athletes. As a coach, I can say that we have lost great athletes to other fall sports, but we have also gained more basketball athletes in return."
"Hopefully the two programs can work together and help each other in the long run. But overall, any girl that enjoys a fast paced, team centered, fun sport will fall in love with the game of volleyball and hopefully choose to play it for that reason most of all," Cerqua said.
The ultimate test
The state finals were held this past fall at the Glen Falls Civic Center, where Baldwinsville received runners-up at the conclusion of the tournament.
The team was overwhelmed and excited when we beat Horseheads to make it to the state final game. We also beat last year's state champions, Ward Melville," Cerqua said. "Our goal all season was to prove to everyone that Baldwinsville could play with the best and that's just what we did. We were obviously sad that we lost in the championship game, but happy to have had the opportunity to be there and play. We can't wait to someday do it all over again.