Following a series of defeats to Section V opponents (Penfield, Webster Schroeder and Midlakes) at the end of August, the Cicero-North Syracuse boys volleyball team had a week to practice more and work on the flaws that popped up in those early matches.
What happened in Thursday’s match against Fayetteville-Manlius defined that work. Down two sets, and on the brink of defeat so many times, the Northstars somehow managed to erase it all and rally to beat the Hornets in five.
Each of the first two sets was close, But F-M took them by margins of 25-22 and 25-19. C-NS fought back in the third set, pulling it out in another 25-22 decision, but were soon faced with defeat in a prolonged fourth set.
But the Hornets could not put it away, and instead C-NS won that fourth set 30-28. To its credit, F-M did not fold in the final set, but again the Northstars gained all the crucial points and won the match by that familiar 25-22 margin.
Working all night, Justin Collins picked up 37 assists, adding four blocks, three kills and two aces. Often, Collins’ passes went to Josh Rodriguez, who had a team-high 14 kills.
Nate Tyrrell and Andrew Bocyzk offered help on the front line with eight kills apiece (Boczyk adding six blocks), while Morgan Austen added seven kills and five digs. Robert Palucci gained nine digs. On F-M’s side, Louis Avellino had 23 kills and 13 digs, with Max Lavelle adding 22 digs and Aravinth Mathuranayagam amassing 50 assists.
The Northstars were much sharper in last Monday’s match at Jamesville-DeWitt, where it greeted the Red Rams with a three-set sweep.
J-D is new to a fall schedule, but C-NS was not sympathetic to the Red Rams, giving them a real baptism by winning the first set 25-14. Though the second set (25-20) was closer, the Northstars put it away with a 25-12 romp in the third set.