By Diana NearhosSpecial to The News
GLENS FALLS — Panama got the job done quickly Saturday. Four sets, four wins and the Panthers had their spot in the Class D state volleyball championship.
The Panthers secured their spot with a 25-16, 25-16 sweep of Argyle.
"It's a big relief," coach Tammy Hoiser said.
Like their sweep of Tuxedo in the first set, it came down to sticking to the strong hitting that got the Panthers this far. Panama was able to throw off a strong Argyle team that way.
Panama had some nerves to shake off in the first match, but once it did, the Panthers ran away from Tuxedo. Panama won the first set 25-18, but dominated the second 25-9.
Once the Panthers started started swinging, the Tornedoes' chances to do so were very limited.
"They were very nervous to start out that second set," Hoiser said. "The first game, we weren't hitting the ball hard. That's how we got here. I told them we had to play our game."
Hoiser pointed out that the tiebreaker to make it to the finals is point differentials, so she told the Panthers, the bigger the margin the better.
Panama has one more match remaining against Bishop Ludden.
Even after six sets of pool play on Saturday, Williamsville East isn't done. With a three-way tie in Class A, there are two more sets of the semifinal round.
Burnt Hills will play Kings Park in a one-set playoff, the winner will then play Williamsville East to decide who advances to the final. The only team to secure a path to the final is Walter Panas.
The Flames split their matches against Kings Park (25-17, 18-25) and Burnt Hills (25-22, 21-25) and were swept by Walter Panas (25-18, 27-29). Williamsville East came close to pulling out a win in the second set against Walter Panas, with two set points, but couldn't get there.
At the time, coach Scott Wright was happy with the effort to come that close.
"The comeback is really what you're looking for," he said. "In a situation when you're really in desperate times, you really like the fighting spirit. We can get a little momentum to carry us into the next four sets."