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Pelham Eliminates Hen Hud to Reach Sectional Final

PELHAM, N.Y. – In the last three years, Lauren Keller and many of her current and former Pelham volleyball teammates have experienced an immovable obstacle during sectionals.

Hendrick Hudson has been there to stop Pelham’s path to a sectional title, including a loss in the 2010 Section 1 Class B final.

Coming into the season, Pelham was focused on winning a sectional title, but it knew it would have to go through Hen Hud. The Pelicans received their opportunity Thursday, in a Section 1 Class B Volleyball semifinal, and took full advantage of it.

The top-seeded Pelicans swept the fourth-seeded Sailors, 25-11, 25-14, 25-18, advancing to the Class B final. Pelham will play second-seeded Eastchester on Saturday at 4 p.m., at John Jay-Cross River High School.

Helen Gandler led the offense with nine kills, four aces and 13 digs. Keller finished with a match-high 35 assists and three aces.

“When we won, we were all so happy,” Keller said. “The last three years it has been Hen Hud and to beat them is a huge accomplishment. We were all excited we could do it.”

Pelham, which also swept Hen Hud in a regular-season match, did not allow itself to get overconfident based on this. Pelham was intent on being mentally and physically prepared for the match and it showed, setting the tone with a 14-point victory in the first game.

“Winning the first set by a large number gave us added confidence, but we knew we could not let up against Hen Hud,” Keller said. “Overall, we had a great team effort. Overall, we were determined to win that we really pushed ourselves.”

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