It did not take too long for the Canastota girls volleyball team to test itself on several different fronts.
The Raiders, still working under long-time head coach Marcia Laidlaw, bring back veterans like Jessica Patterelli, Tracy O'Hern, Katelyn Rounds and Samantha McCarthy from a squad that, last winter, won 19 straight matches before falling to Cazenovia in the Section III Class B semifinals.
As for Canastota's 2010-11 campaign, it commenced last Saturday with an appearance in the Beaver River Tournament, where it went 2-1.
In round-robin play, the Raiders went 2-1 against over Lowville (25-7, 18-25, 25-16) and swept Carthage 25-16, 25-11, 25-17, but lost to Beaver River. In that match, Canastota got crushed in the first game 25-7, but won the second game 25-17 before the Beavers took the third game 25-23.
Overall, Patterelli had 23 assists, 14 kills, eight digs and four aces, with O'Hern adding 13 kills and six digs. Both garnered All-Tournament Team selections as Rounds contributed 13 kills and 10 digs.
On Monday night, the Raiders took a much shorter trip, to Oneida, and had to make two comebacks to beat the Indians in a five-game classic.
Canastota lost the opening game 25-16, only to dominate the second game 25-9 to pull even. When Oneida claimed the third game by that same 25-16 margin, the Raiders responded with steady play in the fourth game, winning it 25-19 to send the match to the limit.
This time, the momentum remained, and Canastota took the fifth game 25-20. Patterelli, before it was done, had 18 assists, adding seven kills and nine digs, while Melissa Krak stepped up with seven kills, four aces and four assists. Stephanie Thornton added six kills.
As for Oneida, Lena Reginelli had 26 assists and six kills as Shannon Dowling finished with 20 assists, six kills and 10 digs. Paige Pendleton had 15 kills, six blocks, four aces and three digs, while Carley Parker had 14 digs and nine kills.