While the Westhill girls volleyball team’s run through 2018 had already proven outstanding, what it did last week assured that it would go all the way to the final weekend of the season.
The path for the Warriors following its sweep to the Section III Class B title did not seem like an easy one. It would have to win two regional matches on the road to advance to next weekend’s state final four in Glens Falls.
First, Westhill traveled to Daemen College, near Buffalo, last Wednesday night to confront Section VI champion Alden. And though the Bulldogs kept it close early, the Warriors still swept them.
During the first set, Westhill moved out in front and fended off Alden 25-20. The second set was similar, again the Bulldogs keeping things tight, but again the Warriors doing enough to maintain control.
And once that 25-21 decision was secure, Westhill closed strong, blazing through the third set 25-17, getting another outstanding all-around effort from Mackenzie Martin, who amassed 21 assists, 14 kills, five digs and two blocks.
Sara Galante gained 11 kills, eight digs and two assists, with Sarah Schwartz adding 11 assists and six digs. Gianna Militi had 10 digs as Montanna Gedney and Emma Shampine had five kills apiece. Brigid Heinrich had three kills and Katie Culligan got two kills and two blocks.
Now, on Saturday, the Warriors would head to LeRoy High School for the regional final against Section V champion Wayne. The Eagles, as it turned out, were just as overwhelmed as Alden was as Westhill again prevailed in a three-set sweep.
Each of the first two sets had the Warriors gain solid leads and then prevail by margins of 25-20 and 25-18. Even when Wayne threatened to extend the match in the third set, Westhill, at 25-25, regained the serve and converted match point to end it 27-25.
Nearly getting a triple-double, Martin earned 20 assists while getting nine kills and nine digs, while Gedney really stepped up on the front line, putting away 14 kills to go with 11 digs.
Galante, aided by Gedney’s presence, put away 15 kills, adding six digs as Schwartz got 18 assists and six digs. Militi matched Schwartz’s total of six digs as Shampine earned two aces.
So it’s on to Glens Falls’ Cool Insuring Arena (formerly the Civic Center), where Westhill will take part next Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. in round-robin play against the other three teams in the tournament, two sets apiece. The best finishers advance to Sunday’s state final at noon.