Every team has a tank of fight in them. After running on fumes all weekend, Haldane's tank tapped out in the state Class D final at the Glens Falls Civic Center Sunday afternoon.
Making their third consecutive appearance in the state final, Haldane was denied a repeat championship by Section 6's Ellicottville, 25-23, 26-24, 25-12.
A hard-fought first game led to another battle in the second game, one that took everything out of the Blue Devils.
"The second game was key," Haldane coach Melissa Rossano said. "I think we could've won that game, and then you never know what would've happened."
The Blue Devils had game-point against the Eagles, before Ellicottville rallied for three consecutive points to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
"That game defined our season and who we are, we're fighters, we fight until the end," senior Claudia Percacciolo said. "We're not the tallest team, we're not the biggest team, but we are the hardest fighters, and that's what Haldane is all about."
Percacciolo, a defensive specialist on last year's championship team and one of five seniors on the roster, stepped into the role of the team's setter after junior Sara Chirico went down with an injury early into the season.
Even if they didn't win this year, Percacciolo says leaving Haldane with a state title under her belt takes some of the sting out of this year's loss.
"We've had all the experience -- we've won, we've lost, it's a great feeling," she said of her Blue Devils career.
Also graduating in the spring will be hitter/setter Lauren Etta, one of the most decorated athletes to ever play for the Blue Devils.
Last year's tournament MVP, Etta was again selected to the all-state team, this time with sophomore Kelly Vahos. Etta has orally committed to play at Tulane University in the fall.
"We had our ups and downs (this season), but for the most part we played hard," Etta said. "I think our biggest accomplishment all season is just being (in the state final) to begin with, but also winning against some of the bigger classes."
Haldane posted a 15-7 record before reaching the Civic Center, with impressive regular-season wins coming against John Jay, Ardsley and Hen Hud.
"The girls have to be proud of themselves, this is our third year in a row we've made the finals -- not too many teams can say that," Rossano said. "I'm definitely proud of them, and they should be proud of themselves."