A historic season of Hinton Blackhawk volleyball came to an end in straight sets on Wednesday night at the hands of the two-time defending champions in Dike-New Hartford.
The Blackhawks just found themselves out of system more times than they would have liked. The Blackhawks hit just .067 for the match with 25 kills and 18 attacking errors. Co-Head Coach Kate Ortegren says, once they were out of system, the Blackhawks started doing things they were not used to doing.
On the flip side, Dike-New Hartford hit a whopping .358 with 47 kills and just nine attacking errors all night. Coach Ortegren says the Wolverines did some things that Hinton was not prepared to defend against.
Adjustments had to come if the Blackhawks wanted to stay in the match against a stellar team. Coach Ortegren says it was not a question of if her team could do it, but rather a question of if they could execute it like they wanted to.
Hinton concludes their third trip to state in program history with a 27-3 record. For senior Natalee Junck, getting to play under the lights at state was extremely rewarding after working four years to get there.
Senior libero Aubree Lake echoed those sentiments and says she knows this was only the beginning of what the Blackhawk program will do.
Those two are the only seniors graduating the program this year, but that does not mean it will be easy to replace them. Coach Ortegren says those two bring an intangible element of calm that was very valuable in a run like this.
It is the last volleyball that both Junck and Lake will play in an organized sense. Lake says the relationships she’s made through the sport will stay with her.
For Junck, those relationships transcend the court. She says the off-court antics are what she will miss most about this sport and team.
Next year’s Blackhawks will come loaded with firepower on all fronts from the back to the front row. Coach Ortegren says the lesson learned this year is that tough competition requires an even tougher fight.
Dike-New Hartford will advance to try for a three-peat in the state championship match. The Wolverines match up with Western Christian in the title game for the second year in a row.