Huskies outlast Tigers in five sets

BALLSTON SPA – The Section II Class B semifinal match between Foothills Council rivals Gloversville and Hudson Falls was not for the faint of heart.

It was a contest full of wild swings of momentum, as well as twists and turns, and ups and downs.

In the end, third-seeded Gloversville emerged with a hard-fought 3-2 win over seventh-seeded Hudson Falls.

The Huskies won by scores of 19-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-17 and 25-21.

It was the third time this season that Gloversville posted five-set win over Hudson Falls.

“It was another great battle with Hudson Falls,” Gloversville coach Duane Hicks said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy.”

Jenna Putnam had 17 assists, 15 service points and eight digs for Gloversville, while Katlyn Pierce posted 11 kills, eight digs and four blocks. Shawna Funk added 12 digs for the Huskies, Chelsey Biasini recorded 17 service points and four kills, and Ana Kroup posted seven points and four kills.

Katie Clouse had 50 assists for the Tigers, while Tanner Barton finished with 17 kills. Hannah Mager added 10 kills for Hudson Falls, which was bidding for its second straight upset win after sweeping second-seeded Schalmont in the quarterfinals.

“It was another close match with Gloversville,” Hudson Falls coach Sarah Carney said. “We were hoping for a different outcome though.”

The first game set the tone for the match with Gloversville opening up an early lead only to watch it evaporate in a back-and-forth battle.

Putnam started the game with a 6-0 service for the Huskies, before Hudson Falls clawed its way back, tying the first set at 13-13.

The Tigers went on to win 12 of the final 18 points to win the first set 25-19, with Mager ended the first set with a four-point service run.

In the second set, Gloversville found itself in a quick 3-0 hole after a three-point service run by Clouse that featured kills by Mager and Kacey Rosenblum. The Huskies battled back and took a 6-5 lead on a three-point run by Biasini. The rest of the first set was a back-and-fourth battle with neither team leading by more than three points the rest of the way.

Hudson Falls led 21-19 before the Huskies even the match by ending the second set with a 6-2 run to win it, 25-22. Lizzie Peak closed out the set win with three straight service points, a surge that also included kills from Pierce and Biasini.

“That’s how we’ve played most of the year,” Hicks said. “We dig ourselves a hole and fight and claw our way out of it. This team never quits.”

After evening the match at one set, Gloversville found itself in another hole after losing the third set in a nailbiter, 26-24.

The Huskies led the set 24-22 after rallying from a 19-16 deficit.

However, Hudson Falls answered with a rally of its own behind a three-point service run from Mager to eke out the set win.

“We rode the roller coaster well,” Carney said. “There were plenty of ups and downs, and twists and turns in that match. We’re young and when we got down, we were able to bounce back.”

Facing a must-win scenario in the fourth set, Gloversville opened up a 23-15 lead on its way to a 25-17 set win to knot the match at 2-2.

Putnam had five service points in the fourth set for the Huskies, Pierce had four kills.

“[Gloversville] is a great team. They put up a huge fight,” Carney said.

Gloverville rode the momentum to a 7-1 lead to start the decisive fifth set.

“That was huge for us,” Hicks said of his team’s quick start in the fifth set. “Of course, we gave it back to them and made it interesting. We were able to pull it out though.”

Biasini had four service points in the opening surge, while Putnam accounted for the other two.

The Tigers made a game of it, using a five-point run from Mager to close to within 9-8.

Hudson Falls pulled event at 15-15 before Gloversville got a kill and a block from Pierce as it won the next three points to open up an 18-15 lead.

The Tigers got to within 21-20, forcing Hicks to call a timeout.

The move worked as the Huskies won four of the final five points to earn the 25-21 win, which was sealed with an ace by Peak.

“I was worried that we might overlook Hudson Falls with Johnstown getting to the finals,” Hicks said. “I knew we couldn’t do that because they had played us so tough the first two times.”

Gloversville (16-4 overall) will face Johnstown on Saturday in the Section II Class B championship match at Stillwater High School. The top-seeded Lady Bills swept fourth-seeded Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons on Wednesday. The Huskies and Lady Bills split their two Foothills Council meetings this season.

“It will be fun,” Hicks said. “If we don’t come to play, it won’t be that fun, but I think we’ll be ready. It’s going to be a fun match either way.”

Hudson Falls finishes its season with a 10-9 overall record.

“We’re only losing one senior, so we’ve got a young team,” Carney said. “I think leaves us hungry for next year, which is a good thing.”