Canajoharie outlasts Duanesburg

CANAJOHARIE – When the Canajoharie and Duanesburg volleyball teams played during the regular season both times the match went five games with the teams splitting the series.

On Wednesday, the teams met again, this time, in the opening round of the Section II Class D tournament.

Again, the match went the distance with seventh-seeded Canajoharie rallying back from the brink of elimination to defeat No. 10 Duanesburg, 3-2 on scores of 25-14, 17-25, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-16.

Holding a 2-1 edge heading into game four, the Cougars pushed to close out the match but instead were halted by a determined Duanesburg squad.

The Lady Cougars jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead over the Purple Eagles but could not build more than a three-point advantage. Duanesburg took the lead midway through the game and built a 20-17 lead before the Lady Cougars fought back to tie the game at 20-20 and then again at 22-22.

With Shyanna Logan serving, Canajoharie reached match-point at 24-23 and appeared to have the match won, until Rachel Gamache’s return attempt hit the net before rolling over. Despite diving attempts to keep the play alive by the Lady Cougars’ front line, the ball hit the floor, tying the game at 24 apiece.

Katy Dunn served the final two points with Tori Dykstra and Gamache recording points to keep the Eagles alive and tie the match at two games apiece with the 26-24 win.

Duanesburg used a service run from Dykstra to sprint out to an early 7-1 advantage in the fifth and deciding game.

The Lady Cougars began their comeback bid with Logan striking a kill before recording a pair of aces in a four-point service run to put the score at 9-7 in favor of the Eagles.

A quick side-out and a service point from Ashley Darling tied the game at nine, however, Duanesburg controlled the score 13-10 when the teams switched sides at the midway point.

The Eagles took the score to 14-10 before Shelby Mead recorded a kill for Canajoharie to get the side out.

All the momentum in the match switched to the Lady Cougars side of the net when Gracie Adams stepped to the service line.

Despite a pair of timeouts called by Eagles’ coach Bruce Pickett, Adams went on a two ace, 11-point service run to blow the game open 22-15.

Brittany Adams got two points back for Duanesburg before Mead blocked a Duanesburg kill attempt to get the side out and push the score to 23-16.

Logan followed with a kill down the left sideline before Abbey Dearwester connected on a solid hit from the right side that found the floor for the game and match winner.

“I don’t know what clicked. It was unbelievable,” Canajoharie coach Stephanie Bartkus said. “I don’t know how they did that. They pushed through more adversity than in any other game I have seen. Most teams, including us, would have cracked under that kind of pressure. Then Gracie Adams had that service run. It was an incredible thing to witness as a coach and I have never been so proud.”

Logan finished the match with 13 kills, 15 service points, four aces and two digs, while Mead had nine kills, nine service points, three aces and three blocks.

Dearwester recorded seven kills to go with 21 assists and two blocks and Adams contributed 14 service points, four aces and two kills.

Frankie Nare recorded seven kills, while Emma Stortecky had 19 assists, 13 service points and an ace, Darling added 14 service points and four aces and Madison Herrick contributed seven digs.

Canajoharie advances to the Class D quarterfinals and will travel to Fort Edward to play the second-seeded Flying Forts Friday at 5 p.m.

Fort Edward received a first-round bye in the tournament.