Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Head coach Mike Calvello, left, receives a ball from Lauren Adamchick during Thursday's Broadalbin-Perth girls volleyball practice in Broadalbin.
Michael Kelly/Recorder staff Jordan Marshall works as a part of a drill during Thursday's Broadalbin-Perth girls volleyball practice in Broadalbin.
Recorder file photo Broadalbin-Perth's Chelsea LeBlanc spikes a ball into the outstretched arms of Queensbury's Courtney Keys during their match last season.
Dave Wojeski / For The Recorder 10/30/2013 Schalmont Assignment Broadalbin-Perth's Gabby Smith sets the ball for teammate Zoe Simonson during their sectional match against Greenville on Wednesday afternoon.
By MICHAEL KELLY
BROADALBIN -- Coming off a trip to the 2013 Section II Class C championship match, the Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots volleyball squad is not lacking for confidence for its 2014 season.
"My expectation," said head coach Mike Calvello at Thursday's practice, "is to get back [to the championship] and see if we can change the result."
The Lady Patriots' 14-4 season ended in defeat, as top-seeded B-P suffered an upset at the hands of Voorheesville.
But, if anything, the defeat only seems to have motivated the members of the B-P squad. Many of the Lady Patriots competed on club teams in the offseason, with some mixing in stays at elite camps; nearly all of the program's players were together all July playing in a summer league at Fulton-Montgomery Community College; and, Calvello said he could never remember an offseason in which open gym sessions were as crowded as this year's gatherings.
Seniors Keyana Fariello and Chelsea LeBlanc said it was encouraging to see how much work the Lady Patriots had put in during the offseason.
"We all came together," said Fariello. "This season, everyone has been here and stuck with it."
"We've been working hard all summer," LeBlanc said.
The offseason's work should help the Lady Patriots' transition to this season a little bit easier than expected. The squad lost two key cogs from a season ago to graduation in Maddie Gurga and Regan Reed.
"Losing Regan and Maddie is really hard," said Fariello. "Maddie was always the one diviing to get every ball, and Regan was always the one to look to for help."
But the Lady Patriots return the rest of their core, and figure to be one of the favorites in a revamped Foothills Council and Section II Class C postseason scene. Fariello and LeBlanc figure to be at the center of much of B-P's attack, but Calvello said that juniors such as Zoe Simonson, Gabby Smith and Megan Ryder will also be major factors for the squad.
"Everyone has really improved from last year," he said. "We have the experience, and now it's a matter of blending the personnel."
The Lady Patriots will get their first chance to see how their new look works out Saturday morning, when B-P plays host to its annual season-opening tournament with squads from across Fulton and Montgomery counties.
The club's senior leaders expect a sparkling debut to set the tone for the season.
"We have a really strong team ... and we have the best coach ever," said LeBlanc. "It's really exciting."
"We all have really high expectations and we're all willing to put in the effort," Fariello said.
Contact MICHAEL KELLY at firstname.lastname@example.org