Red Hook’s Lady Raiders headed for championship bout

Red Hook’s Lady Raiders varsity volleyball squad bumped visiting Rondout Valley out of the gym in four games on Oct. 30, ending the Ganders’ season and grabbing their place in the Section 9, Class B championship against second-seed Marlboro.

It was fundamental volleyball almost all the way in the opening game, with both Red Hook and Rondout keeping the ball low and holding the big swing out of the game. Red Hook let the Ganders keep the game close, going long on a couple of serves and missing on would-be spikes, but created distance in the middle points, and at one point led 17-9. Rondout rallied and managed to cut it close, but not close enough. Lady Raider Sophie Akoundi ended the game, 25-21, on a spike.

The Ganders looked like they had their feet set in Game two, going up 4-0 on a spate of Lady Raiders mistakes. Red Hook, though, again walked through the middle points and grabbed the game, 25-19.

Game three was a thriller. Rondout was in control through most of the game, jumping out to an 11-8 lead. Red rallied, tied the game at 13, and swapped points with Rondout until the final frames. The last minutes were the stuff of professional matches, with the crowd losing its mind before spikes and going completely silent while the ball was in the air. The teams tied at 24, 25, and 26 before the Ganders nabbed the game, on a botched Red Hook spike, for a 28-26 win.

“At this level, with this kind of pressure, anybody can get nervous and make some mistakes,” Red Hook head coach Rachel Carter said of the game.

The Lady Raiders weren’t about to sit back and play shot-for-shot with the Ganders again. For Game four, Red Hook left Rondout Valley in the dust after getting the lead to 4-2, at different junctures leading 13-8 and 19-8 before a missed Rondout Valley serve iced the game, 25-12.

Carter was all smiles after the match. “Obviously, I’m ecstatic,” she told The Observer. “It was great to come in here and take the big cupcake.”

“We think we’re championship-ready, we’re ready to face Marlboro – or whoever we’re facing at the end,” she added.

Marlboro took its semi-final win Oct. 30 by beating Goshen in three straight.

The championship match-up will be Sun., Nov. 3 at noon at SUNY New Paltz.

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