Skaneateles volleyball topples Cazenovia

At least for the time being, the Skaneateles girls volleyball team is sprinting to another OHSL Liberty division regular-season title.

Pushed hard on its home court in Thursday night's match against Cazenovia, Skaneateles won the battle of Laker teams in three games, resuming what has become a competitive and heated rivalry.

A year ago, Skaneateles won both regular-season meetings and the league title - only to have Cazenovia gain the last and most important word by winning the Section III Class B championship.

Now they were together again, both 5-0 in league play, with a large and loud group of Skaneateles partisans on hand. And the opening game would have a huge impact on the rest of the night.

Twice, Skaneateles fell behind, at 5-1 and 19-16. Both times, it came back, fueled by power both at the service line and at the net.

Still, Cazenovia inched ahead at 24-23, had a game point and hit a kill shot right on the line. After a prolonged discussion, officials ordered the point to be replayed.

Given another chance, Skaneateles won the point, then went ahead and, with a clinching block, took that opener 26-24. Cazenovia would not get so close again.

Though the second game stayed close for a while, Skaneateles broke up a 16-16 tie with a closing run to win it, 25-18, that included back-to-back aces by Alexa Campanile.

Then Skaneteles opened the third game 8-0 (in all, a 17-2 run, counting the second game) and breezed to a 25-19 win to complete the sweep.

Ryan Merle poured in 13 kills, with Katherine Hill adding six kills and Emily Wood earning three kills. Splitting back-line duties, Gabby Eckles earned 13 assists and Destin VanTyle picked up eight assists, with libero Erin Callahan offering superb defense.

Skaneateles will meet Cazenovia again Feb. 4 in the regular-season finale at Buckley Gym.

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