WAVERLY -- Making history is something we've heard from a lot of local teams in recent years. Each of the schools we cover has had at least a few teams stake their claim to a school first over the last several years.
This fall alone, Athens' boys soccer team and Waverly's volleyball team did something no team in each squad's respective school has ever matched.
Tonight, Waverly's volleyball team gets the chance to move on to the New York state Class C quarterfinals when the Lady Wolverines play the Millbrook Blazers in the opening round of the New York state volleyball playoffs.
The team and coach Kesha Sinsabaugh are excited for the opportunity.
"They're still excited, and they're still smiling," said Sinsabaugh. "They still feel the feeling (of winning a title) and know they want to feel it again."
" It felt really good," said senior Jordan Mente. "It's been a lot of perseverance. Bringing the sectional title home for the first time was really cool because we did make history in our school."
" It's really exciting, because it's our senior year, and we have gone this far," said Sydney Meyers, who set school records for digs in a season and a career during the 2018 campaign. "We are very excited."
"I'm really proud of my team for making it this far," added classmate Siera Kirk. "We have so much talent on this team, and we are going to bring home the 'W.' We definitely worked really hard to get the numbers up on the banner, and this group of girls deserves it more than any group of girls I've ever played with."
Meyers said the motivation was there when Waverly beat Susquehanna Valley for the Section IV championship Saturday night.
"We had a lot of emotion winning sectionals, we were 100-percent motivated," said Meyers. "We just saw Susquehanna Valley at the final four, and we watched film and were ready to play them. We were very motivated. We knew our postseason wasn't ending there, and we were going to go farther than that."
"We were ready to go to the final four and get revenge on Trumansburg," said Meyers, referencing the IAC Large School championship match that Trumansburg won 3-2. "It felt really good when we beat them."
"When we played them (in the IAC championship), the game point had ended on me," said Kirk. "My motivation was I wanted to win when we played them in final four."
The Lady Wolverines swept the Blue Raiders and that started a string of solid matches. Susquehanna Valley beat Waverly in the final two matches of Section IV's pool play semifinals. Then Waverly turned the tables on the Sabers and won the sectional title 3-1.
It isn't that the Lady Wolverines haven't had good teams in the past. They have. But this team is different.
"I've definitely had good teams, but a lot of them were at the start of building this program," said Sinsabaugh. "The last good team was six years go. That's where I started. I started with them in seventh grade and have been building the program all the way up with them. They definitely have a different perspective. These girls know what the expectations were coming in. I think that makes a huge difference."
"I've had good teams, they just weren't able to come over the top."
"It's so unreal to be making history in Waverly," said senior Courtney Stillman. "We have looked at that banner at the beginning of every year and said we want to put a number up there. At the beginning of this year, we all decided this was going to be the year to do it and get more than one number up there."
And that's the resolve the team has had all season.
"It's cool because there are a lot of sports that have sectional titles," said Mente. "We actually laugh about it because now we have fan buses and stuff, it's pretty exciting."
Midway through the season, the team hit a couple of road bumps and dropped a couple of matches. Sinsabaugh said that the adversity helped.
"They realized the roller coaster ride isn't something that's going to help them continue on to the end," said the coach. "If they want to get it, if they want their names up there and be known for that, they knew they had to start playing a consistent game. We've seen some of that slowly come through. We still haven't seen it fully for an entire game, but hopefully they continue on, and we do get that consistency. We're definitely going to need it (tonight)."
The Blazers have been there before.
"There's a difference," said Sinsabaugh. "Some of the girls who are playing for them have been there before, but we're not going to let that defeat us. They're going in just as blind as we are. Media tapes are about all we have to go on. There isn't much game footage on either team. We know a few of their players. They have one strong player. She's been around for five years. She's pretty strong. That area has some pretty strong club teams. You can get a feel, just off winter travel, of what some teams may have in the postseason.
Mente and Meyers said that, in spite of a lack of familiarity, they're eager to play someone new.
"I am excited," said Mente. "I feel like we don't know what to expect from them. We watched film, but it's going to be surprising. Hopefully it's going to be a really good game."
Meyers added: "It is exciting because we haven't had competition out of Section IV. It's exciting to play different teams."
Sinsabaugh knows tonight's match won't be easy but feels that her team is prepared and ready to go.
"If we play our game on our side, it's going to be a good night," said the coach. "Win or lose, it should be a good game. All I'm asking for is for them to come in, play their hearts out, and stay up. If they do that, they have a chance."