VVS beats Oneida, earns Class B boys volleyball title

Following a strong 13-3 regular season, the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill boys volleyball team waited to see if its biggest rival, Oneida, would show up and create a local battle for the Section III Class B championship.

Not only did the Red Devils get its wish, it acted upon that wish in a decisive manner, sweeping the Indians in three games in Thursday night's title match, even if it was played in Oneida's home gymnasium.

Having played the day before in the semifinals against Chittenango, the Indians might have been a bit weary when compared to the well-rested Red Devils, but neither side would spend much time on the court here.

VVS claimed the opening game 25-12, then tore through Oneida in the second game 25-8. The third game would prove a bit closer, but still turn decisively in the Red Devils' favor as it finished off the match by prevailing 25-16.

Justin Smith was quite valuable to the Red Devils, earning nine kills and eight assists. Mark Dixon gained seven kills, while Jordan Johnson earned seven blocks. Matt Sayles and Ryan Matt Each had four kills, with Ryan Matt adding four blocks.

In defeat, Oneida's Garrett Mutz put away 10 kills, while David Watson finished with three kills and six assists. Jesse Christian added five assists.

Prior to this, Oneida reached the finals last Wednesday night in its own impressive three-game manner, sweeping the Chittenango Bears.

A 25-10 opening game set the tone as the Indians used its power and versatility to dominate the match, winning the next two games by margins of 25-16 and 25-12.

As Mutz put away 16 kills and five blocks, Jeff Barres piled up nine blocks to go with his three kills and two aces. Garrett McLaughlin also helped, with five kills and three blocks.

Watson picked up 13 assists, adding four kills and two blocks, while Christian got 11 assists and three kills. Alex Fratini added three kills. For Chittenango, Andrew Young (four kills) and Justin Weber (three kills) worked on the front line, while Greg Lang and Pat Connelly each dealt with three assists.

To wrap things up, VVS also took the regional championship on Saturday, rallying from a 25-18 defeat in the opening game to beat Taconic Hills by taking the next three games 25-12, 25-11 and 25-23.

Pulling out that fourth game to avoid the match going to the wire, VVS had Smith earn 14 kills and 11 assists, with Johnson helping on the front line with six kills and nine blocks as Dixon finished with nine kills.

Todd Brown did most of the setting and earned 22 assists. Michael Blair earned 18 digs and Shane Sullivan contributed eight digs.

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