Nov 07, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Yes, there were moments of concern for otherwise machine-like Baldwinsville girls volleyball team during Wednesday night’s Section III Class AA championship match against West Genesee at the Cicero-North Syracuse gymnasium.
Some poor serves in the opening set kept the Wildcats close for a while, and some careless play in the third set nearly extended the match.
On the whole, though, it was far from enough to derail B’ville’s latest run to a sectional title, as it swept West Genesee in three sets, completing another run through the Section III regular season and post-season where it never lost a set to any opponent in a best-of-five match.
“There was a lot of nerves at the start,” said head coach Mary Jo Cerqua, who attributed those nerves to a combination of playing in a sectional final and dealing with a slick, brand-new type of volleyball different to all those the Bees had used to this point.
Even with all that, WG could not extend an early 4-2 edge and, after a 7-7 tie, B’ville zoomed out in front to stay in the opening set.
Overcoming its inconsistent serves, the Bees methodically pulled away, not with any single scoring run, but with occasional bursts that proved too much for the Wildcats to handle as B’ville won that first set 25-15.
By contrast, in the second set the Bees never trailed after getting the first two points. From a 3-2 lead, B’ville went on an 8-2 run, and stayed in control even though WG kept rallies alive with an all-out effort that, occasionally, led to points.
The Bees’ winning margin in that set was exactly the same as the first, 25-15. Usually enjoying a balanced front line, B’ville depended heavily on Madison Whitney, who delivered 16 kills. Cerqua said that by setting herself up on the outside, Whitney was able to continually put away points with spikes to the middle of the court.
And though the Bees only had two aces, Meghann Smith still set up many points with her strong serves, and also contributed 33 assists as Lexi Lagoy added seven kills and four blocks, with Melissa Voyer also getting seven kills and Rachel Aiello adding five kills.
WG put up its best fight in the third set, constantly answering the Bees’ points and tying it three times, including 13-13. When the Wildcats pulled within 21-20, Cerqua called a rare time-out, and B’ville promptly got three straight points before Voyer’s kill ended the set, 25-21, and gave her side another sectional crown.
As B’ville’s girls prepared for Saturday’s regional final at C-NS against Section II champion Shenendehowa, the boys Bees also went after a sectional title, only to lose in three sets to top seed and defending champion Oswego.
That it was a sweep was a bit of a surprise, given that B’ville and Oswego had played twice in the regular season, splitting those matches, and and both were five-set clasics decided by just four points apiece.
But the Bees entered the sectional final short-handed, as 6-foot-5 hitter Dalton Mahan had to sit out with an ankle injury. Against a Buccaneers front line that features Zach Gillard, any sort of handicap made things more difficult.
Briefly ahead 2-1 in the opening set, B’ville soon gave that up as Oswego went on a 6-1 run to move in front for good. From there, the Bees were in catch-up mode, falling behind as many as nine points before the Bucs closed it out by a 25-18 margin.
Then the Bees never led in the second set, Oswego roaring to a 10-3 lead. From there, B’ville never got closer than three points, 18-15, and lost that set in yet another 25-18 decision.
Determined to extend the match, B’ville roared to a 10-5 lead in the third set, and then traded points until, at 15-11, Oswego made its decisive move, rattling off seven unanswered points to take the lead for good.
Again, the Bees were unable to put together a similiar spurt, and the Bucs won a third straight 25-18 set to earn back-to-back sectional titles.