OGDENSBURG — Every extra day that the Fulton varsity girls volleyball team gets to keep playing and practicing, coach Jessica Frost considers it a blessing.
After defeating Jamesville-DeWitt last weekend in the Section III Class A championships, Frost said everything past that was “icing on the cake.”
Now that the Red Raiders defeated Section X’s Massena in the sub-regional round of the NYSPHSAA tournament 3-0 Wednesday (25-17, 25-10, 25-13) — it’s time to add some sprinkles.
“We’re just riding this wave right now. It’s so much fun,” Frost said. “We got to ride a coach bus up here. We’re living the dream.”
Frost added there were some jitters during the early stages of the first set. Massena’s first serve from Payton Benson was an ace, eventually leading to a 3-0 lead for the northern Red Raiders.
The teams went back and forth for a while, trading points. That was until Fulton’s Sydney Sachel stepped up to serve, going on a six-point run behind kills from Natalie Frost and Tesa Galvin, putting the southern Red Raiders up 16-10.
Massena earned a couple more points before Galvin went on a five-point run, expanding the gap to 23-15. On the set point, Massena’s Ella Murtagh served the ball, but the team couldn’t return the volley, giving Fulton the 25-17 set win.
“It’s the platform. It’s just different,” Jessica Frost said. “They were jittery at first. Once their nerves settled in, they were fine.”
Fulton got off to a quick start in the second set, going up 4-1 with a couple kills from Natalie Frost. Galvin went on another long run, one that included three aces, putting the Red Raiders up 13-3 in the middle of the set.
That streak was followed by a four-point run by Natalie Frost, which featured two Maddie Baum kills and an ace from Natalie Frost.
The Red Raiders used their offense to their advantage, with players laying down kills from the front and back rows, giving Fulton an even larger lead. A three-point run from Mackenzie Coant ended the set after Massena had a spike go into the net, for the 25-10 set victory.
“Once they got on a roll with passing and realizing the ball was going to come over at weird angles, we were fine,” Jessica Frost said. “Once we get up a few points, we get rolling. Full steam ahead.”
And push on Fulton did, taking yet another early lead. Baum’s six-point run helped the Red Raiders put the match out of reach, eventually going up 12-7.
Two four-point runs from Coant and Riley Kempston finished the set.
Sachel’s third kill of the night propelled Fulton to the match sweep with a 25-13 set win.
“Our girls get the confidence and just run with it,” Jessica Frost said. “That’s just the type of team we are.”
Natalie Frost led the team with 17 kills, 12 digs and an ace. Sachel added 32 assists, 11 digs, three kills and two aces. Addison Pickard chipped in 14 digs, five kills, two aces and an assist. Coant tacked on seven kills, four digs, two assists and an ace. Galvin contributed three aces, three digs, a kill and an assist. Baum chipped in three blocks, three kills and an ace. Kempston recorded three digs and an ace. Joann LeVea had 10 digs, while Izabella Bogardus added five digs.
Fulton, now riding an 18-game win streak, moves on to the NYSPHSAA regional championship today. The Red Raiders take on Section II’s Burnt Hills-Balston Lake in Gloversville. BHBL is coming off its 19th consecutive Section II Class A championship.
Jessica Frost added that she has the utmost respect for BHBL’s coach since he’s “growing the game of volleyball.”
“I just want to play well against them. That’s my goal. Just ride this wave as long as we can,” Jessica Frost said. “This is a situation these girls have never been in and I haven’t been in as a coach. It really is a great experience for them to see what else is out there. What different sections are like and it’s really fun. It’s great for the sport of volleyball and for them.”