Even as it took a four-game defeat at West Genesee on Sept. 8, the Baldwinsville girls volleyball team observed what it was doing, good and bad, knowing that information would come in handy for the rematch in 11 days' time.
Sure enough, when the two main contenders for the Section III Class AA title saw each other again last Thursday night at the Baker High School gymnasium, the Bees displayed these adjustments and showed lots of toughness, rallying to beat the Wildcats in five games.
This was the most vital match of B'ville's season. Between the 2007 Class AA final loss to WG and the earlier defeat in Camillus, the Bees had seen the balance of power shift, and needed to do something to get it back.
A home-court advantage helped, for sure. And as B'ville's loud, boisterous home fans cheered them on, the Bees controlled the opening game, easily prevailing 25-16 to signal that, this time, it would be different.
Not that WG got the message right away. With Morgan McDermott pounding out 20 kills and nine blocks and Alyssa Sutherland on her way to 11 kills and six blocks, the Wildcats fought its way to wins in the second and third games by equal 25-21 margins to take a 2-1 advantage.
Still, B'ville had more confidence this time around, and when it won the fourth game 25-18, it forced the match to the wire. All through that fifth game, the momentum shifted several times, but the Bees had the last surge and won by a score of 25-22.
Laura Galvin led in all phases of the game, earning 29 assists, nine kills and two blocks. Sandra Shibley gained 16 kills, while Lauren McVey earned 11 kills, two aces and two assists. Carrie Hack had six aces, to go with five kills and three assists, while Ashley Marsh got five kills, four blocks and three aces. Libero Erin Carrino again excelled on the defensive side.
As McDermott and Sutherland worked on WG's front line, setters Carly Graham and Chelsea Sedlacek fed them, as McDermott had 19 assists and Sedlacek earned 13 assists, to go with four aces.
B'ville warmed up for the West Genesee rematch with a strong performance last Tuesday against Fayettevile-Manlius, sweeping the Hornets 25-14, 25-20, 25-17.
Galvin finished with 32 assists, an average of more than 10 assists per game, feeding a busy front line. McVey led it with 13 kills, while Hack got seven kills, Marsh earned six kills and three blocks, and Shibley got five kills and three blocks.