By the narrowest possible margin, the Vernon-Verona-Sherill girls volleyball team climbed out of possible elimination and made a brief run through the Section III Class A playoffs.
Even as the no. 12 seed and a 6-9 mark, the Red Devils went to no. 5 seed Jamesville-DeWitt in last Tuesday night's opening round and erased a 2-0 deficit in games to beat the Red Devils.
All looked bleak early, for even though the first two games were close, VVS could not snag either of them, watching as J-D claimed the opener 25-21 and the next game 25-20.
Somewhere in the third game, though, VVS sensed the possible end to its season and started to pick up its form, breezing through that game 25-17. In the ensuing fourth game, it was a bit tighter, but the Red Devils again prevailed 25-20.
So the entire thing rode on the fifth game, and neither side could gain a major advantage. But at 24-24, VVS won the serve back, then converted match point to take it 26-24 and move on in the playoffs.
Many heroes could be found here. Rikki Kneeskern worked up front for 16 kills, then added 11 assists and six digs on defense. Kari Beal hustled for 15 digs and Stephanie Sirano had nine digs.
Rachel Brown helped on many fronts with 19 assists, five aces, five digs and two kills, while Alexis Albro got six kills and Hillary Stoltz earned five kills.
J-D, who had lost primary setter Meredith Howe suffer a season-ending injury a month ago, had Michelle Dellalah (10 assists, six aces) and Sophie Higgins (14 assists) split those duties as Emily Halpin worked for 14 kills, four blocks and two aces.
VVS now heads to the north country for Thursday's Class A quarterfinal against no. 4 seed Carthage, who rolled past East Syracuse-Minoa in the opening round. J-D finished with a mark of 12-7.