Boys volleyball: Bethlehem misses the state finals

Wood displeased with Fairport coach's decision in pool play

— How much did one boys volleyball coach’s decision factor into Bethlehem’s failure to make the Division I finals at last Friday’s state tournament in Glens Falls?

The Eagles lost three of their four pool play sets against Section V's Fairport and Long Island's Sachem East at Friday's New York State Public High School Atheltic Association Championships at the Glens Falls Civic Center. Fairport knocked off Bethlehem 25-21 and 26-24, and the Eagles split their two sets with Sachem East 16-25 and 25-22.

"We had opportunities. We just didn't capitalize on them," said Bethlehem coach Jason Wood. "We had small leads in both sets (against Fairport), and we just couldn't capitalize."

What upset Wood was a decision made by Fairport coach John O'Dell when the Red Raiderss played Sachem East in pool play. After winning the first set 25-20 to improve its pool play record to 3-0 and lock up a spot in the finals, O'Dell sent his reserves onto the court for Fairport's final set. Sachem East took advantage and beat Fairport 25-9 to even its record at 1-1, which meant Bethlehem had to sweep its two sets against Sachem East to force a one-set playoff.

"He was obviously throwing the match (against Sachem East)," said Wood. "I think he didn't want to face us in the finals because we played them very close in both sets. I don't have a problem with him subbing (his starters). What I have a problem with is you might sprinkle in a few subs here or there, but you don't sub the whole team."

O’Dell said he only used his subs to give some of his seniors a chance to play at the state tournament — somewhere the Red Raiders had never been before.

“I have 20 guys on the team, and I felt it was important to give all of my guys a chance to play, especially my seniors,” said O’Dell.

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