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Wildcats edge B'ville, capture first-ever volleyball title

So here were the West Genesee Wildcats, on the campus at Cicero-North Syracuse, celebrating a historic Section III championship performance that was high on drama and excitement and went down to the final play.

Only this was girls volleyball, not football. But the same truth remained -- the Wildcats finished on top, and this time, the feat was unprecedented.

For the first time, West Genesee is a sectional volleyball champion, having fought past undefeated, two-time defending champion Baldwinsville last Monday night at the CNS gymnasium in a five-game epic where the margin between victory and defeat was small -- but signifcant.

As joyous celebration raged all around him, Clark Martin, the Wildcats' head coach for more than a decade, said this was the culmination of a long journey paved by fine WG teams of earlier years that could not quite get this far.

"The past teams' hard work and dedication is what got us to this point," he said. "It's a great accomplishment. These young ladies deserve everything they've got."

Jill Cleland, one of the key cogs of the Wildcats' front line, said an all-out effort was required to pull this out.

"It's rally exciting to win this," she said. "We just left everything out there on the court."

The seed of this title win was planted back on Sept. 10, at Baker High School, where the Wildcats took the Bees to five games before coming up just short.

When B'ville won a one-sided rematch 10 days later in Camillus, it appeared that the old order, with the Bees on top (it had won seven of the previous nine sectional championships), had been preserved.

WG shook that off, though, and was perfect the rest of the regular season, then ripped through playoff opponents CNS and Central Square as B'ville was doing the same to Utica Proctor and Oswego.

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