By LAUREN READ
Three seasons of high school boys volleyball, three Division I state championship appearances for Champlain Valley Union.
The undefeated Redhawks (15-0) beat No. 5 South Burlington 25-14, 25-13 and 25-19 on Monday to book a spot in the finals for the third straight year.
“I have watched each one of the players develop so impressively all year,” said CVU coach Jeff Boliba. “I am so proud of them.”
After cruising through the first two sets, the Wolves put on the pressure in the third. The visitors took their first lead of the day at 8-7 in the third, then extended the lead to 12-9. CVU came back to tie it, then the two teams traded possessions for the next 12 points.
“Hats off to the South Burlington team,” Boliba said. “They have really improved a lot this year and they came to play.
“It was great to be feeling tense, to be feeling a little nervous.”
With the teams tied at 18-18, the Redhawks took the next point to earn a 19-18. They would not lose another point as they cruised to the win, relying on a strong service game.
“I give our boys credit, they had to buckle down,” Boliba said. “The pressure that our serve puts on teams all year has really helped us. We executed our game plan.”
With the win, the Redhawks will face No. 2 Lyndon on Saturday in the state championship match at Saint Michael’s College. The two teams will face off at 3 p.m.
“It’s awesome: the big stage at St. Mike’s, the crowd, the intensity,” Boliba said. “It’s the best high school volleyball in the state, as it should be for a state championship.”