Cicero If the Marcellus girls volleyball team was not accustomed to the unique pressure of playing in a state tournament prior to Tuesday night's opening-round match with Section V champion Wayne at Cicero-North Syracuse, it got comfortable in a hurry.
The Mustangs beat the Eagles in four sets, not only advancing, but giving long-time head coach Hy Bryant his 300th career win at the school.
Bryant had achieved those first 299 wins, and a host of Section III Class B titles, without going further than regional play until Marcellus moved to a fall schedule this year. And this on top of the 563 wins Bryant's teams at Onondaga Community College amassed in the 1980s and '90s.
However, the lack of state tournament experience didn't mean that Marcellus lacked big-match toughness, something that Wayne quickly found out.
In a lopsided opening set, the Mustangs rolled to a 25-14 win. Though the second set proved closer, Marcellus won it 25-22, allowing itself a cushion as Wayne won the third set by that same 25-22 margin.
Closing it out, the Mustangs won the fourth set 25-17, finishing off a match where Jessica Cost set up points with her 20 assists, to go with seven digs.
Up front, Nicole Fletcher had 10 kills and four blocks, adding nine digs, while Devon Landers had six kills and five blocks. Allie Massara added four kills and nine digs as libero Brittney Valentine recorded 18 digs. Tori Bingham had three aces, three kills and eight digs as Tabby McBride earned eight digs.
Marcellus goes to the Buffalo suburb of Amherst to face Section VI champion Albion Saturday at 4 p.m. The winner there advances to the state final four at Glens Falls on Nov. 19-20.