Just two points separated the Chittenango boys volleyball team from a season-defining victory in Thursday night’s match against Vernon-Verona-Sherrill.
But the Bears never got those two points, seeing its match hopes dim as the Red Devils, in a tense fifth set, rallied from a six-point deficit to pull it out and end Chittenango’s valiant effort.
Each of the first two sets proved close, setting the night’s tone. It was the Bears pulling out the opener, 25-23, relying on a balanced front line and tremendous defense to gain an early edge.
VVS wiped out that edge, though, as it battled to a 25-22 victory in the second set to even the match, and then dominated the third set, 25-15.
Forced to rally, Chittenango was able to let go of that third-set result and, in the fourth, took charge without the Red Devils able to recover. By a 25-17 margin, it went to a final set.
And all looked fine for the Bears as it led 6-3 early in that fifth set. VVS tied it, 9-9, but then Chittenango rattled off six straight points, threatening to pull away.
Now it was the Red Devils’ turn to regroup, and with its own 6-0 spurt, it tied matters at 16-16. From there, it went back and forth, the Bears inching in front at 23-22, VVS answering until it was tied, 26-26.
Chittenango had the serve, but VVS got it back thanks to a kill by Tim Beal, his 10th of the night. When a Bears shot was mishit seconds later, the Red Devils, by a 28-26 margin, had pulled it out.
Tyler Howard led the Bears, earning 12 kills and 19 assists, while Nash Boyd helped Howard on the back line with 18 assists. Mike McIntosh put away 16 kills as Jack Wandersee (nine kills), Brad Markowski (eight kills), Andrew Clark (six kills) and Connor Martin (five kills) helped out. Kyle Brazell anchored Chittenango’s defense, earning 19 digs.