Skaneateles volleyball finishes perfect 21-0 run

When the current senior class of the Skaneateles girls volleyball team started their tenure at the varsity level, the goal they had in mind -- an undefeated season plus league, Section III and regional championships -- seemed far out of reach.

Yet these Lakers didn't care about doubts or questions, or the fact that powerful forces like Marcellus or Cazenovia stood in the way of such lofty ambitions.

And in this 2009-10 campaign, Skaneateles reached the ultimate plateau, a perfect 21-0 mark capped by Saturday's three-game sweep of Beekmantown in the Class B regional final at Jamesville-DeWitt High School.

Even the host venue held good news for the Lakers, for it was the same J-D gym where, a week earlier, Skaneateles had dethroned defending champion Cazenovia to take the Section III Class B championship.

Following one more week of (weather-abbreviated) practice, Skaneateles took the court against Beekmantown -- and didn't take long to put the Eagles away.

The closest game proved to be the opener, where Skaneateles used its power and precision to prevail 25-19. Each of the succeeding two games proved easier, as the Lakers beat Beekmantown 25-17 and 25-15 in the third game to close things out.

Each of the five Skaneateles seniors that formed the core of this championship unit would have one more strong effort.

Up front, Emily Wood had eight kills and two blocks, while Ryan Merle backed up her six kills with five blocks and Katherine Hill also got six kills.

On the back line, Destin Van Tyle earned 12 assists as fellow senior Alexa Campanile earned a pair of assists. Junior Gabby Eccles finished with 10 assists.

Since the New York State Public High School Athletic Association holds its state girls volleyball tournament in the fall, this was the Lakers' final match of the season.

Now comes the tough part for head coach Doreen Doctor -- saying goodbye to Merle, Hill, Wood, Van Tyle and Campanile. It will be up to Eckles, plus new players like Anna Goodell and Sheila Gaffney, to try and keep the magic going in 2010-11.

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