When it came into Cicero-North Syracuse's gymnasium last Wednesday night for the Section III Class AA championship match, the Baldwinsville girls volleyball team carried with it a deep desire for payback.
Twelve months earlier, in that same CNS gym, West Genesee upended the Bees in a five-game classic to snatch the AA crown. Now the two sides were back together, battling on the same court to see if anything had changed.
A lot, as it turned out. Once the Bees went in front in this final, it never got caught again, pulling off a satisfying three-game sweep that delighted the large, loud B'ville contingent in red that flooded the court to celebrate with their heroes at match's end.
While not a senior-heavy squad, B'ville has two of them at key spots on the court -- Laura Galvin as the primary setter, Erin Carrino as the team's energetic libero. Each of them proved vital to the final outcome.
Galvin produced 28 assists, along with seven kills and two blocks in solid front-line duty. Meanwhile, Carrino careened all over the court in a superb defensive effort, keeping points alive and sparking the rest of her teammates.
"Both of them are leaders on the court," said head coach Mary Jo Cerqua. "Their experience with the game, and their calm demeanor, is crucial."
Every bit of that calm was needed in the opening game -- which, as so often happens in volleyball, set the tone for everything that followed.
Following an early exchange, WG used its power to go out in front, stretching the margin to 17-12 by the time Cerqua used a timeout to settle her team down.
It proved to be perfect timing, as B'ville promptly reeled off five straight points to catch up at 17-17, though WG would recover and, by 24-23, have a game point to go out in front in the match.