If the Oneida girls volleyball team wanted to orchestrate a perfect ending to the era of twin sisters Aubrey and Brianna Bobo, it would have involved close competition, scintillating points, and a whole lot of power on display.
By those high standards, the Indians' four-game victory over Fulton in last Wednesday's Section III Class A championship match at Jamesville-DeWitt High School was far from a masterpiece, with the Red Raiders' mistakes as much a factor in the outcome as anything else.
Still, Oneida would take the result. Prior to the Bobos' rise to prominence, the Indians had gone 27 years without a sectional title. As freshmen, they helped Oneida end that drought in Class B-1, then led the team to another title in 2006 at Fulton's expense in a come-from-behind, five-game effort.
Now Oneida and Fulton were together one more time, in that same J-D gym, knowing that, with Section VII dropping out of a possible regional playoff, this would be the last match of the season -- championship or bust.
More than a week had passed since Oneida had dismissed rival V-V-S in the Class A semifinals. The ensuing Valentine's Day snowstorm pushed the rest of the schedule back, making the Indians wait longer for Fulton to emerge from the other half of the tournament bracket.
From the start, the Raiders were generous. A series of wide or long hits in the opening game allowed Oneida to shake off any possible rust and pull well out in front. Aubrey Bobo started displaying her power late in the game as the Indians prevailed, 25-16, and pulled out in front.
Aubrey continued to put away powerful kills early in the second game. But up 5-1, the Indians started to relax, and Fulton started its own run of lethal serves to catch up. At 18-18, the Raiders pulled out in front and stayed there, winning 25-20 to square the match at one game apiece.