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ESM denied by Whitesboro in volleyball final

Spartans drop four-set title match to reigning Class A champs

East Syracuse-Minoa hitter Rachel Aird (25) goes up for a spike attempt in Saturday night's Section III Class A final against Whitesboro. Aird had 13 kills and seven blocks as the Spartans lost in four sets to the Warriors.

East Syracuse-Minoa hitter Rachel Aird (25) goes up for a spike attempt in Saturday night's Section III Class A final against Whitesboro. Aird had 13 kills and seven blocks as the Spartans lost in four sets to the Warriors. Stephen Bailey

— The two teams battled back-and-forth through the first set until Blaszek rocketed a spike off Lubenovic’s shoulder in the back row and into the stands to give the Warriors a 12-9 advantage.

After a Pastorelli misplay pulled ESM within 13-12, Blaszek blocked an Aird spike before one-timing a Lubenovic return to push the Whitesboro lead to 15-12. Two strong winners from Pastorelli helped extended the lead to 21-16 before a Blaszek spike ultimately zoomed over Aird’s head and into the court to take the set.

“It was like a boxing fight,” McHerron said of the Aird-Blaszek matchup. “One threw one punch, the other one threw another punch, the other one countered and back-and-forth and back-and-forth. It was fun to see. They set their No. 1 player and we set our No. 1 player — and that’s how it should’ve been.”

Aird blocked Madison Kosuda to give the Spartans a 4-1 lead in the second set before hammering a spike off Blaszek and past the diving Rebekah Geller. Whitesboro rallied back to tie the score at 7-7 when Blaszek’s spike got between Aird and Lubenovic.

Neither team was able to pull away by more than two points until a Shaughnessy block gave ESM set point at 24-21. Following a long volley, Canorro set up Aird for an over-the-shoulder winner to tie the match at one set apiece.

During the break, Entwistle prepped her team for what would surely be an intense third set.

“(I told them) that we needed to keep our heads up and keep fighting, keep working, not give up on any point,” Entwistle said. “Every point counts.”

The Warriors responded by turning a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 lead. An Aird spike and Emily Jackson drop shot recaptured the lead for ESM at 11-8 before back-to-back Geller aces gave Whitesboro a 13-12 edge. Geller would stay on the serving line for nine points and bookend the 7-0 run with another ace to make the score 19-12.

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