As the home crowd roared, the West Genesee girls volleyball team prepared to win the point that would turn last Monday's Section III Class AA semifinal against Fayetteville-Manlius around.
Only the Wildcats never got that point -- and by the time it could recuperate, the Hornets were on its way to a three-game sweep and a date with Baldwinsville in the title match two nights later.
With its determination and ability to keep points alive, WG, the no. 2 seed, had every belief that it would neutralize F-M's front-line power.
For a while, it did so. The Wildcats took a 13-8 lead in the opening game, only to have F-M answer with an 8-0 to surge in front.
Gradually, WG worked its way back to a 22-22 tie, but then a disputed point (where F-M saved it off the floor) turned it one more time, and F-M capitalized, taking that opener 25-22.
The Wildcats shook it off -- only to go through a second game that, by its end, would cause irreversible damage.
This epic had 14 ties, as neither side appeared able to put it away. Three different times, F-M had game points, but the Wildcats fought them off, working the count to 27-27, then taking the lead.
At 28-27, with a game point, WG served it into the net. Then, at 29-29, after resisting a third Hornet game point, the Wildcats again put a serve in the net. F-M then grabbed the game, 31-29.
That broke WG's spirit, and the third game quickly went in the Hornets' favor, 25-8, ending a fine Wildcat season.
Carly Graham had 13 assists and eight kills. Katie Lee added nine assists, while Morgan McDermott had six kills. Jill Cleland and Lauren Drozynski each had four kills.
For the Hornets, Sandra Devito had 14 kills and four blocks. Kristen Allen had seven blocks and four kills, with Sarah Byrne adding nine kills. Lane Brenner set them up, earning 32 assists.
WG went 15-4 this fall with just four seniors (Lee, Drozynski, Jordan Remillard and Amanda Defisher) on its roster. McDermott, Cleland and Graham form the heart of the Wildcats' talented returning cast in 2007.