CORNING, N.Y. (WETM) – The dream season marches on.
Corning volleyball, making their first trip to the New York State Final Four since 2016, will get another chance at history this weekend in Glens Falls. The Hawks (15-4) open in Class AA pool play and will face Section II’s Shenendehowa Saturday at 8:30 am.
The opening ceremonies for the tournament will start promptly at 7:45 am and Corning will hit the court right after. Other teams Corning is scheduled to play is Section VI’s Lancaster and Massapequa from Section VIII. The top two teams in pool play advance to the state finals Sunday at Noon.
In a season that saw plenty of ups and downs, Corning believes they are coming together at the right time and playing their absolute best. Come this weekend, that could be the perfect recipe for ultimate success.
“I mean, I’m already on cloud nine,” Corning senior setter Jenna DiNardo said. DiNardo, who leads the team in setter assists with a staggering 505 to go along with a 95 percent serve percentage, would love nothing more than to bring home a title.
“I couldn’t even imagine winning that state title,” DiNardo said. “It means so much, all of the support for us.”
Fellow senior Olivia Keegan, who leads the offensive attack with 231 kills on the year, says the Hawks will go out and battle for history. Even if being in the Final Four is a pleasant surprise.
“We didn’t really expect to come this far being an underdog all season,” said Keegan. “I guess we really have nothing to lose. So we’re just gonna try to pull out the win.”
No Corning combined volleyball team has ever won a New York State crown since Corning East and West brought both programs together in 2010. Corning West High School did win a state title in 1997. Hawks head coach Barb Smith says the identity of the team has changed for the better.
“We’re a completely different team right now,” Smith said. “We’ve bonded, it’s become closer and we’re working hard together.”
Corning topped Mamaroneck in the Class AA regional final last Friday in a back-and-forth game which saw the Hawks win after dropping the first set (3-1). Smith believes if the Hawks play the way that they are capable of playing then anything can happen in Glens Falls.
“They’re just figuring things out and they’re just playing amazing right now.”