Feb 14, 2007 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
For the Marcellus girls volleyball team, just reaching the Section III Class B-1 final against its big rival, Skaneateles, was enough of an effort.
Marcellus shed a year-long ghost last Tuesday night, when it beat Cazenovia in five games in the Class B-1 semifinals.
That 2006 sectional final, where Marcellus was one point from victory, only to take a painful five-game loss to the Lakers, had stuck in the memory of all the returning Mustangs, giving extra resonance to this match.
“You have no idea what this means,” said junior Lauren Fletcher. “It feels so good to beat Cazenovia.”
They had met twice in the regular season, each side winning at home in three-game sweeps, the Lakers’ coming just a week earlier at Buckley Gym.
Now, at Marcellus, Cazenovia continued its domination in the early stages, leading throughout a 25-17 decision in the opening game.
The second game would prove to be the match’s pivot point — one that would delight Marcellus and haunt Cazenovia at the same time.
Cazenovia kicked Marcellus around in the game’s early stages. At one point, the Mustangs trailed by 11 points, and was so badly off its game that, even when head coach Hy Bryant used both time-outs, he couldn’t seem to change his team’s shell-shocked mood.
Which only made what followed even more stunning.
Down 16-5, the Mustangs began its resurrection with five unanswered points to make it 16-10. From there, it exchanged points with Cazenovia until it was 22-16 — a tighter situation, but the Lakers still in control.
Then, at 22-17, Rebecca Eddy got the serve and Fletcher rotated to the front. That lethal combination produced six unanswered points and, suddenly, Marcellus led 23-22 and the gym was roaring.
Now it got even more exciting. Twice on each side, the Mustangs and Lakers earned game points as the score kept rising. Every time, the chances were turned away.
Finally, at 27-27, the Mustangs regained the lead, and Fletcher’s touch shot found the ground. From a hopeless situation, Marcellus had won, 29-27, and had evened the match.
“I don’t know how that happened,” said Bryant. “They have a lot of fight in them, though.”
Feeding off the momentum of that rally, the Mustangs also took the third game, 25-17, before cooling off in the fourth game as Cazenovia, who earned the last nine points, won 25-14 to send the match to the limit.
This time around, there wouldn’t be any late drama. Marcellus took advantage of some early Cazenovia mistakes to go in front and stayed there, reeling off the last six points off Eddy’s serve to win the match, 25-13.
Fletcher, feeding off the bitter memory of last year’s final, piled up 24 kills, eight blocks and four aces. Between them, Rebecca Eddy and Rachael Eddy had eight aces, while Kayla Howard got six kills and six blocks to help Fletcher on the front line.
Jenn Daley piled up 35 assists as the Mustangs’ primary setter, while Kassie Phillips and Kayla Linder each had four kills.
Cazenovia had all kinds of stars, too. Abby Cordes had 13 kills and 14 assists, while Julie Gregg earned 10 kills and Kathy Groetz added eight kills. Alissa Easterly had 19 assists, three aces and two kills.
In Saturday’s Class B-1 final at Jamesville-DeWitt, Marcellus will meet its neighbor and rival, Skaneateles, who took out no. 1 seed South Jefferson in the other semifinal.