Riders win, Chatham falls in volleyball finales

HUDSON–On Sunday, March 4 at Hudson High School the Ichabod Crane Riders topped Catskill 3-1 to win the Class B boys volleyball title, while Chatham lost 3-0 to Coxsackie-Athens in the Class C/D final.

The top seeded Riders, who are 20-1, defeated the Cats 25-20, 25-22, 23-25 and 25-20 and will now head out to western New York Saturday to face off with the Region III champion. Chatham, the third seed, competed well with the top seeded Indians, but fell 15-25, 20-25 and 21-25, finishing the year at 17-6 overall.

A senior-dominated ICC squad, which features nine seniors, one junior and a sophomore used their experience on the big stage to overcome strong play by the Cats. In game one Catskill took a lead early, but senior Sam Matacchiero reeled off three straight service points, as ICC took a lead it would not give back. Matacchiero hit well at the net, while junior Alex Potts used his size to stifle the hard hitting Cats at the net. Game two again saw Catskill take a lead early on and this keep it through much of the match. The Riders got big plays from Potts, Matacchiero and senior Bernie Watt to make things close before sophomore Derrick Fenoff completed four straight service points to close out the game.

After the big come-from-behind game three win, it looked like the Riders had taken the wind out of Catskill’s sails, but to the Cats’ credit they battled back in the third game to force a fourth. Senior Jake Gulisane, who had been quiet throughout much of the contest, was strong at the net in the final game, including a pair of kills during a Matacchiero four-point service stretch that put the game out of reach.

Matacchiero finished with 15 kills, Gulisane racked up 16 kills and 7 blocks, Potts had 12 kills and 4 blocks, Matt Dragos, another senior who was solid in the back row all day, finished with 5 kills, while setters Tyler Myers and Bernie Watt tallied 25 and 17 assists apiece. Seniors Steve Cleary, Dylan Kirkpatrick, Mike Brennan and Dennis Shields rounded out the championship roster.

C-A overcomes Chatham

Chatham put on a strong performance in the Class C/D final, but did not have enough consistency in passing or play at the net to overcome a talented Coxsackie-Athens squad. In game one Chatham players found themselves in an early hole and could not climb out despite strong play from senior Kevin Flanagan.

Game two started off worse than first for the Panthers, as the Indians went up 6-0 and pushed that lead to 12-3 at one point. Seniors Andrew Willett and Chris Otto each played well at the net, and Trevor Melanson had two late service points to pull Chatham to within four. But that was as close as it would get. Game three was the closest of the three, as Willett, Otto and Chase Smith all made big plays at the net for Chatham. But despite keeping things close, the Panthers could never fully grasp control of the game.

Smith finished with 8 kills and 6 blocks, Otto finished with 5 kills and 6 blocks, Willett had 6 kills and 3 blocks while Flanagan added 4 kills and 2 blocks. The Panthers are expected to lose Smith, Willett, Flanagan, Otto, Max Essig, Connor Ryan, Billy Bogarski and Mac Kilmer to graduation. Juniors Bruce Hamm, Ethan Clifford, Adam Taylor and RJ Sardo, along with sophomore Jamison Connor, round out the Class C/D runner-up’s roster.

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