The Niagara-Wheatfield girls volleyball team poses right before getting on the bus to head to the state tournament in Glens Falls. (Photos by David Yarger)
Fri, Nov 16th 2018 11:10 am
Fellow classmates send team to states with warm wishes
By David Yarger
The fall athletics season has been one to remember for the Niagara-Wheatfield girls volleyball team. The team won its first Section VI title and followed it with a win in the Far West Regional to clinch the first state tournament appearance in program history.
On Friday morning, the team was scheduled to hit the road for states in Glens Falls. Prior to them loading up the bus and taking off, though, the team was given an outstanding send off from their fellow classmates.
Students filled the halls of Niagara-Wheatfield High School to cheer on and wish the team luck in Glens Falls. Falcons cheerleaders waved their pompoms and even members of the band played a joyous song.
Following the five-minute journey around school, the girls packed the bus and began their journey to states.
On a lighter note, senior captain Danielle Brochey said she was looking forward to the near six-hour bus ride with teammates and expected a lot of singing, talking and movies to be watched.
"We like Pitch Perfect," Brochey said, which drew a cheer from teammate Jenna Sonnenberg. "We also like sing 'Party in the U.S.A' and any throwback."
Three other teams will hit the road today to meet the Falcons at states. A banquet dinner is planned for the teams at 5:30 p.m.
Coach Brandi Cochran, who has won three state titles as a player, said she's looking forward to her first state title as a coach.
"This was our final goal," she said. "For the team to come together and make this drive and get ready to play in the best tournament in the state is pretty much indescribable in terms of words."
Brochey admitted, waking up at 6 a.m. to get to school was a lot easier knowing the team was on its way to states.
As a state champion, Cochran has seen what it's like at the state tournament, and win or lose, she said she wants her team to just take in the moment.
"I want them to see how much of an honor it is to be there, first of all," she said. "I don't want them to lose sight of that at all. I want them to realize this is going to be very competitive and as long as they play their best, no matter what it is; if we go 6-0 or 0-6 in semifinal play, it's not going to matter to me. I just want them not to get discouraged or feel like they're not good enough, because they've gotten this far and they're obviously a strong team. So, I just hope they play their best. That's my main goal for them."
At the state tournament, pool play begins at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cool Insuring Arena. Joining Niagara-Wheatfield is Burnt Hills, Wantagh, and Cornwall high schools. The Falcons will get a chance to play two sets versus all three teams Saturday. The two teams with best set record from Saturday will move on to Sunday's finals, which is slated to begin at 2 p.m.
Regardless of the result this weekend, this will be the last time Cochran sends her team out to play. Win or lose, Cochran admitted it's nice to see the bus stop at states.
"I told my girls in practice yesterday, 'You know what, normally I'm saying "I hope I see you guys next week for another practice, we gotta win one more." I can't say that anymore. This is officially our last practice.' For the seniors, they're never going to play in that gym again. ... It was so nice to say that, because ... we actually went to the final day. It can't get better than that."
The girls begin pool play at 3 p.m. Saturday versus Cornwall, then finish with Burnt Hills and Wantagh, respectively.
Falcons girls volleyball ready and on the move to Glens Falls.