For the first time in a while, the Skaneateles girls volleyball team heads into the Section III Class B playoffs not as a prohibitive favorite, but as a contender with something more to prove, even as it still managed to finish with the regular season with a superb mark of 13-3.
The Lakers’ season, while still quite successful, has seen some blemishes, including last Tuesday night’s home match against Jamesville-DeWitt, where it lost in four sets to the fast-improving Red Rams.
Having steadily improved all season, the Red Rams jumped on Skaneateles with a 25-21 victory in the opening set and added a 25-21 triumph in the second set.
Even though the Lakers kept the match going by taking the third set 25-22, J-D earned all of the critical points in the fourth set and, by a 25-21 margin, closed out the match.
Mallorie Olin and Natalie Roche both finished with 11 kills, with Roche adding 13 digs. Casey VanSlyke (12 digs), Kristina Didio (10 digs) and Malory Davis (nine digs) helped on the defensive side as Grace Delasin earned 14 assists and nine digs. Mia Campanile earned 11 assists as Bailey Herr got four kills and Kelsey Kraetz gained five blocks.
On J-D’s side, Madi Alfieris provided a superb effort on the back line, earning 33 assists and adding 11 digs, while Meghan Byrnes provided 19 digs.
Up front, Laura Wildridge led with 14 kills, while Melissa Murphy had nine kills and six digs and Essance Britt managed seven kills. Carly Neugebauer earned 11 digs to go with six kills and three aces.
This added a bit of urgency to the Lakers’ Thursday-night regular-season finale at Phoenix. And the Lakers lost the opening set here, 25-22, only to turn it around in the second set, 25-21, and dominate the third set 25-10 before winning a tense fourth set 25-22 to close it out.