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Pelham Volleyball Heads For States With Eye On Prize

Pelham seniors, from left, Tori Bowser and Helen Gandler lead the Pelicans back to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B Volleyball final four in Glens Falls.
Pelham seniors, from left, Tori Bowser and Helen Gandler lead the Pelicans back to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Class B Volleyball final four in Glens Falls. Photo Credit: Tony Pinciaro

PELHAM, N.Y. – Going into the Section 1 Volleyball Class B Championships, Pelham players began to look down the road toward the big prize.

“We started talking about how great it would be to go back to states,” senior Helen Gandler said.

Pelham has done just that. The Pelicans will return to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Volleyball Class B Championships Saturday and Sunday at the Glens Falls Civic Center.

The Pelicans, 20-0, will be joined by defending state champion John Glenn, Johnstown and Skaneatles. Pool play will begin at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The two teams with the best records will play for the title Sunday. Last year, John Glenn defeated Pelham in the final.

Following the 2011 final, Gandler began thinking about this year. Even though she did not want to look ahead, she had a good feeling about what could happen this year.

"I knew the potential we had in the junior class and with the depth of our program, especially in the last few years. I thought we could get back,” Gandler said. “We’ve been looking forward to making it this far and I am proud of the team that we made it this far.”

Pelham, which owns victories over Class AA champ Clarkstown South and Class D Victor Haldane this season, had one minor scare in the postseason. Pelham lost the first game to Hendrick Hudson in the sectional final, then stormed back to sweep the next three games for the title. Other than that  loss, Pelham has been  dominant.

Gandler said Pelham knows what to expect this season and the returning players have spoken to their new teammates about the little things regarding the tournament. Gandler said they have not spoken about volleyball.

Pelham plans on being more studious during its matches Saturday, with an eye toward Sunday. “Last year we felt that John Glenn knew how to play us after Saturday and used it to their advantage,” Gandler said. “We have to recognize and know how these teams play and hopefully utilize it to our advantage Sunday.”

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