With the Section III playoffs looming, the Chittenango girls volleyball team needed a boost of confidence that could only come from beating a first-rate opponent.
And the Bears received that boost in Monday night's match against Fulton, taking four games to beat the defending Class A champion Red Raiders.
As it turned out, Chittenango's spark was losing the first game 26-24. Determined to turn that round, the Bears routed Fulton 25-14 in the second game, then fought through closer battles in the third and fourth games to win 25-20 and 25-22.
On a deep front line, Jenna Barber finished with nine kills and four aces, while Rose Mashie, Rachel Antelmi and Brittney Tirabassi each had six kills.
Antelmi added four blocks and Mashie, doubling on the back line, picked up 14 assists alongside Hayley Calarco, who had 15 assists. Mackenzie Jones added four assists. Fulton saw Taylor Harvey earn 12 kills and Lindsay Navagh get 29 assists.
All this followed the Bears' 25-17, 25-23, 24-26, 25-18 loss to East Syracuse-Minoa on Jan. 29, a match where Tirabassi, Antelmi (eight kills each) and Barber (seven kills) worked off the passes of Calarco (14 assists) and Mashie (10 assists, five kills). ESM saw Mallory Martino (15 kills), Laura Adams (13 kills) and Paige Holt (37 assists) stick out.