Fresh off winning its own tournament on Dec. 28, the Christian Brothers Academy girls volleyball team wanted to resume control of the OHSL Freedom division -- but East Syracuse-Minoa had other ideas.
In an exciting match on Thursday night, the Spartans made two different comebacks, fought off some match points and beat the Brothers in five games.
When CBA claimed the first game 25-16, nothing looked to be abnormal -- but ESM rose up and claimed the second game 25-20. A close third game saw the Brothers pull it out 26-24, and the Spartans evened it up again 25-21 in the fourth game.
So it came down to the fifth and final game. Both sides had chances to win, but it was ESM that, at 24-24, broke the tie and held its serve on match point to prevail 26-24.
Through the long night, Laura Adams earned 15 kills and Mallory Martino picked up 13 kills, while Charlotte Visser earned six kills and Danielle Steigerwald five kills. Paige Holt finished with 36 assists.
On CBA's side, Alex Horowitch matched Holt with 36 assists, adding six aces. Maggie Fennell gained 12 kills, six blocks and seven aces, while Jesse Bongiovanni gained 10 kills. Kara Dell'uomo had six kills and Nadine Dosa earned five kills.
Before all this, CBA would subdue Cortland last Monday night, winning the first two game 25-17 and 25-18 before losing a close third game 25-23. CBA prevailed 25-15 in the fourth game.
Lianna Artessa and Bongiovanni earned eight kills apiece, while Emily Norkett got six kills. Combined, Artessa, Bongiovanni and Norkett picked up 11 aces, too. Horowitch set up points with her 22 assists.
ESM resumed last Tuesday, falling to Homer in four. The Spartans lost the first game 25-21 and won the second 26-24, but the Trojans prevailed in a close third game 25-22, then won the fourth game 25-18.