MUSTANGS ACE KEY TEST BEAT SAUQUOIT TO EARN CLASS C VOLLEYBALL TITLE
Mount Markham Mustangs 2013 Section 3 Class C Champs!
The unbeaten Mount Markham Mustangs (18-0) boy’s volleyball team defeated the Sauquoit Valley Indians (14-4) at Canastota High School to win the Class C Section III Championship extending its winning streak to 55 games, 2nd longest in New York State.
The Indians pushed the Mustangs to the brink on Thursday night as they put fans on the edge of their seats as both sides exchanged match points in the final set before Mount Markham was able to edge them out 32-30 and raise the banner after winning the fifth and final set of the match.
Mount Markham jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the opening set, but Sauquoit countered with two quick scores of their own as the two sides exchanged points back and forth as the Indians tried to keep the match close.
The Mustangs then came strong with five unanswered points extended their lead to 10-5, but the Indians fought their way back just one point short of tying the set down 11-10.
Unfortunately, for the lower seed, that one point margin would be as close as they would get in the first match as Mount Markham continued to pound the ball and put together a few runs of 3-4 unanswered points at a time slowly increasing the margin.
Sauquoit Valley made one final push late in the set getting within seven points, but Mount Markham finished the set on a four point run to win the first 25-15.
In the second set, Sauquoit Valley came out firing first and picked up a quick 2-0 advantage. However, Mount Markham turned it around in no time scoring five unanswered points and took a 5-2 lead. They continued picking up points in small spurts and fending off a few Sauquoit Valley rallies holding a 9-6 advantage.
The two squads then engaged in a close knit affair with back and forth lead changes and no more than a few points separating the rivals.
The Indians were able to finally secure its second lead of the set at 15-14, its first lead since jumping out to an early 2-1 advantage.
After gaining the 15-14 lead the Indians never looked back, and despite the Mustangs getting the lead down to one point on several occasions the Indians never allowed them to regain the lead.
Leading 21-19, Sauquoit had it sights on finishing off the Mustangs, but they would not go easily. The two sides battled back and forth until Sauquoit rattled off three points in a row to pick up the set win by a score of 25-20.
After dropping the second set, the Mustangs came out hungry and aggressive in the third, taking control quickly. The Indians found themselves down 5-0.
The Indians were down all set and seemed to be unable to match the aggressive play of the Mustangs.
Mount Markham never gave the Indians an opportunity to jump back in the set and never relinquished the lead again.
Sauquoit tried to jump back into the set and match when Mount Markham seemed to get complacent after building a 21-7 lead. The Indians pounced scoring five unanswered points, cutting the lead in half at 21-11, but the Mustangs saw enough and were able to close them out and take a 2-1 advantage. They then appeared ready to wrap up the Class C crown.
Having already lost two sets, the Indians knew that their season was on the line. They knew they needed to pull out a win in order to force a decisive final set.
Sauquoit tried to build up a lead on the Mustangs, but could only pick up a 3-1 advantage before the Mustangs made a run and took a 6-5 lead of their own. It was a short lived lead as it would be one of only three times in the frame that they would find themselves ahead.
With the fourth knotted at six, the Indians made there move and slowly began increasing their lead.
With the Mustangs lingering, down only three at 10-7, the Indians took control building a 22-13 lead on their way to a 25-16 win, forcing a fifth set with the sectional title on the line.
The final set was epic as both teams exchanged and answered each others blows and swapped one point advantages before Mount Markham finally made a move and took a 8-7 lead.
The Mustangs then went on an 8-0 run and grabbed a 15-7 lead and were able to hang on as Sauquoit slowly chipped away before they eventually tying the match at 17.
What followed were 12 lead changes, 11 ties and no team holding more than a 2 point advantage. In all the game featured a total of 20 different lead changes, 23 one point leads and 19 ties.
Both teams reached the magical number of 25 points, but had to win by two to secure the victory and back and forth they went, nose to nose, net to net.
Sauquoit had its opportunities to put the Mustangs away as they had four match points but could never put the final nail in the coffin. Mount Markham had two chances and didn’t let the opportunity slip by and took home the title winning 32-30.
With the win the Mustangs pick up sectional title number seven and its third consecutive title. They now head to the regionals Saturday at 1 PM at Cobleskill-Richmond High School to face off against Coxsackie-Athens (19-2) in search of its fifth regional championship.
The Mustangs were led by senior setter Travis Beach, who had 31 assists, 10 kills and 20 digs; senior outside hitter Warren Salo, with 18 kills and 18 digs; and senior middle hitter Ben Gurtowski, who had 12 kills and six blocks. Matt Blanding added 21 assists for the winners, and Mike Gras had 12 kills and 19 digs.
Sauquoit Valley, finishes the season 14-4. The Indians were playing in their fourth straight sectional final. The Indians were led by Jordan Montgomery, with 15 kills and 16 blocks; Jeff DeShane, with eight kills and 14 blocks; Mike Stuhlman, with 12 kills; and Justin Jarecki, with 10 kills and 15 digs. Libero Harley Wright recorded 33 digs for the Indians.
Mount Markham coach Darin Lynch spoke highly of its Sauquoit after the game saying, “We knew that Sauquoit was the best team we played all year. They play a similar style to us and it showed tonight. We were hoping to have an easier time of it but in the end we got the result we wanted. It was a marathon overtime game!” “We struggled with their blocking tonight. Jeff DeShane and Jordan Montgomery were great for Sauquoit tonight. We tried to put pressure up the middle and they did the same thing. This game brought back flashbacks of our last matchup against Sauquoit in the sectional finals three years ago. This is a big win for the kids and the program, our 55th win in a row and three sectional titles in a row. That is something to be proud of.”
Senior Travis Beach said after the match, “This game against Sauquoit was a big one for us especially losing to them three years ago. We kept our composure out there in that final match as we exchanged leads. We see every tie as another chance to win the game. Sauquoit had a bunch of chances as well, but we are glad to be moving on.”
Ben Gurtowski, a senior, said “This is especially important to us seniors who have been on this remarkable undefeated run. Having our fans here to cheer us on was huge. Our coach always gives us the best chance to win because of his hard work and dedication. We look forward to playing Coxsackie-Athens. We played them last year. They are a very strong team.”
Finally, senior Kevin Caraher added, “The game was amazing! It was so close, so competitive and even a little nerve-wracking on the bench. It’s hard not to get emotional. It was important to us to keep this strong tradition going. What a great way to go out on senior year. We still have work to do at the regionals.”
1 2 3 4 5 F
Sauquoit 15 25 13 25 30 2
Mount Markham 25 20 25 16 32 3
Justin Jarecki 10 kills, 2 blocks, 3 assist, 16 digs, 2 aces
Mike Stuhlman 12 kills, 3 blocks, 9 digs, 1 ace
Jordan Montgomery 15 kills, 16 blocks
Jeff DeShane 8 kills, 14 blocks
Corey Novak 3 kills, 3 blocks, 1 dig
Emerson Roberts 17 Assists, 2 digs, 2 aces
Steve Philpotts 14 Assists, 4 digs
Harley Wright 40 digs, 3 aces
Kyle Cieplenski 3 digs, 1 ace
John LaMarco 2 blocks, 3 digs