Front Row: Jim, Mike, Stewart. Back Row: Matt, Larry, Jim, George, Rich, Tim
After a few practices trying to become proficient playing a 5-1 Team Jabberwocky had to face the music and play for real against better teams in the Empire State Senior Games (ESSG) in SUNY Cortland Field House. there were 5 teams in our pool play and after being booted out of the first round of the playoffs we ended up receiving a bronze medal for ‘participation’ but qualifying the team to participate in the National Games to be held in Pittsburgh in 2023. Thanks to Mike and Jim for organizing our team.
This season marked our 21st year of playing volleyball at ADK Lanes, and our 11th or 12th years of having a Wednesday night Volley Llamas team. Our team was largely Kathryn, BillieJo, Josh, Jim, Michael, Rick, and Connor with Shelly, Courtney and Scott filling in as substitutes. We finished 2nd of 10 teams in the regular season. We got a 1st round bye and beat Ice Cold Sixpack (formerly The Young Finndale). We then faced Scrappers who had battled their way to two wins; 25-23 and 25-22. We won game 1 and had a much closer game 2 to move into the championship game vs Dig Pink. Dig Pink lost only one game all season to Volley Llamas in a position round game. We lost 2 competitive games to Dig Pink closing out our season.
The Empire State Senior games draw more than 1,100 athletes aged over 50 from around the state to compete in 20 events. The biggest draw this year is pickleball with 450 registered, followed by volleyball with 275 registrants. I got invited onto a 65+ volleyball team, Jabberwocky, from the Amsterdam area and we managed to practice together twice. Separately, Kathryn joined a women’s over 60 team. Men’s games were all day Saturday and women’s matches were on Sunday at SUNY Cortland’s Lusk Field House . Our 65+ Team, Jabberwocky, started off playing a 5-1 configuration and losing 2 of our 1st three games. We switched to a 4-2 alignment with better passing and won our 1st medal match. We lost in the gold/silver finals to a team that practices together on a weekly basis. We played 12 games in all. It was nice to improve our play and come away with a silver medallion.
Our Volley Llamas 2018 team finished the regular season solidly in 2nd place in the ten team league. Dig Pink finished in 1st place with only 3 losses (2 imposed by Volley Llamas) and Scrappers finished in 3rd place.
The Volley Llamas summer season ended after reaching the finals after playoff wins 2-0 over Balls Deep and Scrappers before a 2-1 loss to Dig Pink in the finals.
Thanks to BillieJo Davis, Joshua Darrow, Kathryn Skelly Muller, Tim Reed, Chris Poore and Ron Haier for their play. Thanks go to Isabelle Moo, Sara Mierek, Andy Haier, Matt Kochan, and Connor Ludwin for contributing during the summer. The league at Adirondack Lanes always manages to pull off the tricky combination of competition and fun.
Kathyrn joined a team of women from Syracuse and Rochester to compete in the 65+ Division at the Empire State Senior Games in Cortland. She had a fabulous time at the Empire State Senior Games and played some great volleyball. Their team won most of the games they played against the next-younger age bracket teams and took Gold in our own age bracket. After 12 games of volleyball, it was a long full day. Below are the “Volleyball Chicks” wearing their gold medals from the 2018 Empire State Senior Games.
The 2017 Volley Llamas Team…..Eric Muller, Kathryn Skelly Muller, Margaret Fusco, BillieJo Davis in front. Joshua Darrow, Jim Muller, Tim Reed and Ryan Huggins in the back row. Currently in 3rd place in our 10 team Wednesday night recreational league.
Sunday Kathryn organized a team to play in Dolgeville’s Team Bummer benefit volleyball tournament. Eric stayed at Union College to compete in the playoffs of his Bbrawl AAU tournament. They played the same two teams they played on Saturday; this time beating the Schoharie Nitros by 15 points and losing to the Comets by 30.
There were six teams in our intermediate pool and the “Mainly Mullers” team finished 2nd in our pool with a record of 8-2. It was fun. Though there was a lot of waiting in between games.Everyone complained that the net was set to women’s height. We lost the first two games to an amazing team of 4. They were all over the place. I believe they didn’t lose a single game. We also were just sort of getting the feel of one another. The four person team managed to hit every time, and hit through our blockers. It was amazing. None of them looked like volleyball players – they were all sort of short and sort of scruffy looking. The woman was quite short, didn’t look particularly young and was a bit dumpy in build – but she got every pass and made a GORGEOUS set every time. And they hit everything. Boy did they hit. We took all the rest of the games which came to 8 games won and came in 2nd place on our court.
Didn’t like the way they did playoffs. Just the first placed team from each court for the playoffs and since we lost to the four person team, we didn’t make it. Our court seemed to have all the decent teams and the other court seemed to have less competitive teams for some reason (though it was supposed to be random) so whoever had to play that 4 person team must have gotten crushed. When we left, it didn’t look like there was anyone left from the second court.
Our Wednesday night volleyball team, the Volley Llamas, finished the regular season solidly in 3rd place out of 10 teams. We ended up behind 1st place Dig Pink, 2nd place Scappers and ahead of 4th place Finndale Farms. Below are Eric, Kathryn, Josh, Billie Jo, Jim, Ryan, Margaret; with Tim occupying the entire front row.
Our team changed a bit with Rich and Jason Ritzel opting to be substitutes rather than full time players, but being replaced by Josh and Eric playing full time. I am especially proud of Eric’s development, as last year he only played in select situations of select games. This year he displayed a much more rounded game. Josh gave us a solid hitter and all-round good team mate. The season is 3 months long and we managed to cope with personal schedules with only three subs the entire summer: Chris and Rachael on the 1st night and Rich Ritzel during July. A big thanks to everyone. We should be handling out attendance awards to one another. There is always that fine balancing point between playing competitively and having fun. I think we did a pretty good job of balancing those two this summer. I am very happy with our 3rd place finish to the regular season and to accomplish it playing a roster that played with a pre-teen, three card carrying AARP members and line-ups that sometimes put two women in the front line as hitters/blockers; well that was something.
Eric, Kathryn, Tim and I attended the season banquet. The Volley Llamas were recognized for best TEAM CHEER. Eric got recognized as the YOUNGEST PLAYER and Jim as the OLDEST PLAYER.
Kathryn organized a team to compete in the 4th Annual Bummer Volleyball Tournament held at Dolgeville HS. There were close to 250 people participating with 12 teams in the competitive division, 6 in intermediate and 6 in recreational – where we played. Eric and I shared a slot and took turns playing with Scott, Kathryn, Beth, Bill and Billie Jo. Eric did really well for his 1st tournament play. The tournament used women’s height nets which meant that everyone on our team could be a hitter. Only one female was required on each team. We played each team two games using rally scoring to 15. There was one team of middle school aged kids – we gave the kids a ‘do-over’ on serving faults.
The first game was a little …tense…shall we say….as we were unaware that the “norm” in the Recreational division was not to make any calls at all – carries were ignored, people were totally in the net, and at one point they called us for 4 hits when one of our guys blocked something then we played it! This woman from another team who was doing lines told us “If you want to play by the rules, you should have been in the intermediate division.” We explained we were trying to teach a 13 year old how to play and there were two of us over 60, one with double hip replacements, who know enough to know that having people in the net is how people get hurt and she said – I swear she said this – “Then maybe you shouldn’t be playing volleyball” and walked away before I could respond. Once we knew “the rules” (or lack thereof) we could adjust our play and did well. Overall, it was a good day and a good introduction for Eric; our friend Beth used it as something of a training session for him and he did well.
Billie Jo and Beth both had long serving runs. We had a couple of good games. Most of the players for Team Four left early so they picked up 4 good male players and were disappointed when they still lost. The 1st team we played, “The Settlers”, asked to play another game to 25 again at the end of the schedule; fortunately Billie Jo managed to rip off a long serving run that gave us a big cushion and we ended with a good game on a good note. There were no action photos taken of the recreational division, but we did pose for a picture with the championship t-shirts.