For the first time this autumn, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys volleyball team's status as Class AA championship favorites is in doubt.
That's because Central Square went to the Northstars' gym Monday night and pulled out a dramatic five-game victory that was in doubt all the way to the end.
Twice, CNS took the lead. It won a close opening 25-22, only to see the Red Hawks rebound and claim the second game 25-18.
The third and fourth game proved similar, with CNS again pulling in front 25-21 and Central Square answering with its own 25-21 win in the fourth game.
So it came down to the decisive fifth game. They traded points, then went beyond the wire before Central Square, at 24-24, claimed the serve, then got the match point to win the contest by a slim 26-24 margin.
Through the long night, Jim Coleman picked up 48 assists. Those feeds went to Eric Munoz, with 18 kills, and Tyler A. Smith, who had 17 kills. C.J. Patzer and Collins Crooks each had six kills.
The Red Hawks featured Corey Allen earning 39 assists as Bart Paura (12 kills), Mike Brandt (11 kills), Nick Keller (nine kills, three aces) and Sheldon Paura (eight kills) getting lots of work done on the front line.
As this was going on, Liverpool was at Fowler, taking an unlikely five-game loss to the Fowler Falcons.
The Warriors lost each of the first two games by equal 25-18 margins, but Liverpool won the third game 25-14 and survived some match points to win the fourth game 28-26. Fowler had the last move, though, pulling out a 25-23 win.
Aaron Carroll Marsh earned 20 kills and six blocks, while Brendan Taylor got seven kills and John Foley had five kills. James Henty produced 30 assists. Fowler saw Malcolm Jones earn 17 kills and seven blocks in front of Anthony Wright's 20 assists.