An 8-1 start, and tests in various tournaments, had the Skaneateles girls volleyball team prepared for the most difficult 24-hour stretch of its regular season – or so it thought.
What was supposed to be the easier of the two matches Tuesday night against visiting Solvay turned into a frustrating four-set defeat where, more than anything, the struggles with the serve hurt the Lakers at crucial times.
All told, Skaneateles saw 16 serves fly long, wide or into the net. That gave Solvay an opening in the first set and, down 16-15, the Bearcats won 10 of the last 11 points to win that set 25-17.
In the second set, it went back and forth, with six lead changes, but again Solvay pulled it out, 26-24, giving itself a cushion against a 25-23 Lakers victory in the third set. During the fourth, Skaneateles fell behind 19-9 and, after a 5-0 run to cut the margin to five, saw the Bearcats rebound to close it out in another 25-17 decision.
On the back line, Cassidy Pitman managed 10 assists, while Karah Blair contributed 16 digs. Lily Delasin earned eight assists as Aidan Bennett got four kills, adding three aces and two digs.
And now Skaneateles had to go to Buckley Gym on Wednesday to face its namesakes from Cazenovia, who had swept them Sept. 19 and remained undefeated.
Though it improved as the match went on, Skaneateles could not quite extend the match, falling 25-14, 25-17, 25-23 as, defensively, Blair led the way, earning 11 digs, with Rachel Smith adding seven digs.
Pitman had seven assists, while Jessica Patalino and Maeve Canty each had three kills, Patalino adding four aces and three assists. Sarah Delasin had five digs and Elizabeth Williams got four digs. For Cazenovia, Morgan Hodinger had eight kills and 12 digs as Delaney Yorks earned 18 assists, five digs, four aces and three kills.
Skaneateles would get a chance to recover next week in home matches against Mexico on Tuesday and Phoenix on Oct. 12.