Huskies, Lady Bills playing for Class B title

STILLWATER – After splitting their two regular-season meetings, the Gloversville and Johnstown volleyball teams will meet today with the Section II Class B title on the line.

The Huskies and Lady Bills will play for the Class B crown at Stillwater High School at 4 p.m.

For Johnstown, the trip to the title match has been a nearly annual one, as the Lady Bills have been a part of five of the last seven Class B championship matches.

The top-seeded Lady Bills won the title in 2007, 2011 and 2012. Johnstown advanced to the state semifinals in each of the last two seasons.

“The girls are excited to play for the championship again,” Johnstown coach Heather McGuire said after her team’s sweep of Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons in Wednesday’s semifinals.

While Johnstown has plenty of big match experience, Gloversville is making its first trip to a Section II final, according coach Duane Hicks.

“We’ve had a great season,” Hicks said after his team’s 3-2 win over Hudson Falls in Wednesday’s semifinals. “We’re looking forward to playing in the championship match.”

Getting to the title game was no easy task for the third-seeded Huskies, who rallied from a 2-1 deficit to post a hard-fought 3-2 win over Hudson Falls at Ballston Spa High School on Wednesday.

Gloversville (16-4 overall) won by scores of 19-25, 25-22, 24-26, 25-17 and 25-21. Jenna Putnam had 17 assists, 15 service points and eight digs for the Huskies, while Katlyn Pierce had 11 kills, eight digs and four blocks. Shawna Funk posted 12 digs for Gloversville, Chelsey Biasini 17 service points and four kills, and Ana Kroup added seven service points and four kills.

While the Huskies had to survive a back-and-forth five-set battle with the Tigers for the third time this season, Johnstown had no such trouble with fourth-seeded Bishop Gibbons.

The Lady Bills cruised to a 3-0 win by scores of 25-19, 25-18 and 25-11.

Annie Stock paced Johnstown with 16 service points, 14 kills, 12 digs and five aces, while Alyssa Nellis finished with 16 digs, seven points, six blocks and four kills. Jerica Holland registered 12 assists and five kills for the Lady Bills, Bri O’Rourke had six kills, six blocks and three digs, and Morgan Catania had 17 assists. Madison Smrtic added 13 digs for Johnstown, which is 15-1 overall this season.

“It feels good to be playing for the championship again,” Stock said. “There’s some pressure, but we really want to win it again.”

The Lady Bills’ lone loss coming in a 3-2 defeat at home against Gloversville in the regular-season finale on Oct. 18.

The Lady Bills won at Gloversville, 3-0, on Sept. 25.

“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.”