For the second time in three years, the Baldwinsville girls volleyball team will take its collective talents to Glens Falls Civic Center in pursuit of a state Class AA championship.
The Bees, who have not lost a single game in 19 matches this fall, continued its rampage Saturday afternoon at Cicero-North Syracuse, taking just an hour of court time to sweep past Section II champion Bethlehem in the Class AA regional final.
With that win, B'ville places itself in round-robin competition next Saturday and Sunday in Glens Falls, still seeking its first-ever state volleyball title.
"It's an awesome feeling," senior hitter Lauren McVey said. "We're a great team with a lot of chemistry."
"We have a lot of talent on hand," head coach Mary Jo Cerqua said. "And when we have it all together (like today), we can be unstoppable."
Bethlehem would not argue the point, especially after an opening game that set the tone for the rest of the match.
They were tied, 2-2, when B'ville won back the serve. With McVey flinging low bullets just over the net, the Bees put together eight consecutive points, seized a 10-2 lead, and never got caught on its way to a 25-18 win.
Behind its strong serves, consistent defense and flashes of power, the Bees breezed through the next two games, too, by equal margins of 25-16. Only once in the entire match did B'ville trail - by a slim 1-0 margin at the start of the third game.
Otherwise, it was a showcase for each of the Bees' stars, including McVey, who had eight kills and eight digs.
Libero Carrie Hack played her usual strong defense, with 10 digs. Brianna Stewart had 25 assists, aided on the back line by Jenna Blujus, who mixed things up with 10 assists and 11 kills. Brianna Rein had five kills and four digs, with Ashley Marsh adding six kills.
Cerqua said that, as great as the Bees have been, her team knows that it will face a "whole other level" of competition in Glens Falls.
McVey is the only B'ville player with ties back to 2007, when the Bees got to the state championship match, only to fall to Lancaster. She said her advice to the younger players is to try and relax.
"It's a lot of pressure, playing in front of a lot of people," McVey said. "But it's a great time."