Volleyball Lakers dealt back-to-back defeats

Two days of negative results threatened to undo what took the Skaneateles girls volleyball team more than two months to build.

First, the Lakers had to deal with the end of its 11-match win streak at Marcellus last Monday night in a three-game sweep.

On its way to a 7-4 mark, Marcellus had seen six different players, including key parts like Kelly McInerney and Kayla Howard, miss time due to illness or injury. Opponents like Homer and Cazenovia had exploited these absences into wins over the Mustangs, and Skaneateles beat them, too, back on Dec. 11.

Now, though, Marcellus was ready to answer back. Exploiting every possible Skaneateles mistake in the first two games, the Mustangs won the opener 25-15 and claimed the second game 25-16, gaining a big edge.

Only in the third game did Skaneateles regroup and start to display its power. Marcellus had answers, though, and after several match points got thwarted, it broke the 27-27 tie and won the game, 29-27, to complete its sweep.

Serving as the backbone of the Mustangs' effort, Samantha Vulcano shook off a sinus infection to earn 23 assists as libero Carly Annable reached for 27 digs, an average of nine digs per game. Rebecca Eddy helped out with nine assists, plus four kills, as Rochelle Valentine earned seven assists.

Up front, Kassie Phillips produced 14 kills, adding five aces, while Howard had eight kills and McInerney gained seven kills. Skaneateles, in defeat, had Chloe Warner earn 17 assists as Ryan Merle and Emily Wood each got nine kills. Katherine Hill added five kills.

Just 24 hours later, when Skaneateles met Homer, it again took the loss, this time in a five-game decision where all looked to be fine in the middle stages before the Trojans made a spirited comeback.

Beaten 25-15 in the opening game, the Lakers rebounded by claiming the second game 25-19 and dominating the third game 25-12, so a victory seemed close at hand.

Somehow, Homer shook this off and roared back to win the fourth game 25-16, then fought off numerous Skaneateles charges in the fifth game to win the match 25-21.

Merle picked up 21 kills, seven blocks and four aces. Wood added 16 kills, with Hill gaining seven kills and Alexa Campanile six kills. Warner earned 31 assists, getting back-line help from Gabby Eckles as she earned 12 assists.

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