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Volleyball Mustangs sweep Westhill, take Class B crown

Marcellus heads into first-ever state tournament

— For all the many things the Marcellus girls volleyball team has accomplished in recent decades, it had always wondered if that excellence would carry over into a state tournament it could never play in as long as it maintained a winter schedule.

Now, the Mustangs will no longer have to wonder.

Thanks to Friday night's sweep of Westhill in the Class B fall tournament final at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, Marcellus is on its way to the state tournament for the first time, meeting either Wayne or Batavia (Section V) in the regional round.

Well-rested following a week-long break (and fuming that Fulton had denied them a perfect regular season in a five-set match on Oct. 27), Marcellus took on a Westhill side that beat Phoenix Tuesday night in the Class B semifinals, but had lost to the Mustangs twice in the regular season.

Immediately, the Mustangs used its front-line power to seize control, winning the first two sets by lopsided 25-11 and 25-12 margins. It proved closer in the third set, but Marcellus still prevailed, 25-20, to close out the match.

Nicole Fletcher, with 11 kills and four blocks, and Devon Landers, with nine kills and three blocks, led the front line as Kelsey Burke added four kills. Allie Massara recorded four aces.

Jessica Cost earned 21 assists and 10 digs as libero Brittney Valentine managed 12 digs. Tori Bingham, with seven digs, and Tabby McBride, with five digs, helped on the defensive side, too.

For Westhill, Annaleigh Gedney had nine assists and four digs. Clarissa Sterly produced a team-best five kills, plus three blocks and three digs, while Katie McGraw added seven digs. Abby Bornstein got five digs and Emily Persons contributed four digs.

Westhill earned its spot against Marcellus by rallying from behind to beat Phoenix in four sets. In fact, the Warriors almost fell too far behind. The Firebirds won the opening set 25-16, and were on the brink of a 2-0 lead before Westhill, just in time, stood up and claimed that second set 26-24.

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