Baldwinsville Nearly two decades, and more than 300 matches after it started, the Fayetteville-Manlius girls tennis team nearly saw its epochal win streak end.
Baldwinsville posted one of the most legitimate threats to that streak last Friday afternoon and were one game away from pulling it off, but the Hornets held on to beat the Bees 4-3 and run the streak to 304 in a row.
Not since 1993 had anyone beaten F-M head-to-head. In fact, the two defeats suffered in that '93 campaign were the only ones in the last 28 years, spanning the entire tenure of long-time head coach Phil Rudolph.
B'ville, who had been creeping closer to F-M in recent years, cared little about any of those numbers. And the Bees essentially played the Hornets on even terms this time around.
Through six matches, each side had three points. B'ville struck in singles with Amari Pollard beating Jessica Guarino 6-1, 6-1. F-M countered with Lauren Goldberg earning a 6-3, 6-2 sweep over Taylor Ferrari.
That trend continued into doubles, which was a 2-2 split. B'ville's tandem of Madeline Fiello and Katherine Schumacher topped Meaghan Creamer and Shirley Zhang 6-3, 6-3, while Lauren Dusse and Maddie Quilter picked up a 6-3, 6-4 decision over Shannon Fullam and Madison Jordan.
The Hornets' doubles points were also earned in straight sets. Allison Donella and Alexandra Millmaci worked past Natalie Kot and Taylor Slink 6-3, 6-3, with Lyndsey Rand and Katie Roche handling Hannah Mautz and Dana Murphy 6-3, 6-4.
So it came down to the first singles match between F-M's Sienna Susko and B'ville's Kahlei Reisinger. Susko won the first set in a tie-breaker 7-6, only to see Reisinger roar back and earn the second set 6-4.
The third set, to decide the team match and the fate of the Hornets' streak, was in Reisinger's hands. She was up 5-2 and had two match points, but Susko fought them off, won that game and came back to tie it 5-5.
Then Reisinger and Susko traded games, setting up one more tie-breaker. And Susko pulled it out, claiming the set, the match and preserving the 19-year-old Hornets' run of victories.