Dec 12, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
A single contest, alone, does not shift a balance of power — but it can be a step in that direction.
So if the Skaneateles girls volleyball team eventually topples Marcellus from its long-held Class B championship throne, it could point to last Thursday night’s three-game sweep of the Lakers’ home court as the moment where the transfer of control began to unfold.
A large crowd turned out for the latest chapter of this neighborhood rivalry, which had heavily tilted toward Marcellus in years past.
But with Lauren Fletcher graduated, and with Skaneateles sporting a talented, athletic roster with just one senior on it, a chance for the Lakers to change course presented itself.
Marcellus would immediately try and establish control, as it did so many times before, when it raced to a 5-1 lead in the opening game behind great serves from Kassie Phillips and Samantha Vulcano.
Skaneateles quickly caught up, though, with a bigger presence on the front line, and soon that game became a tight, back-and-forth exchange that featured no less than 14 ties, as neither side could separate.
The Mustangs inched back in front 24-23 and earned a game point, but the Lakers fought it off, then took the next two points to prevail, 26-24, and gain a lead it would never surrender.
Even when Emily Wood left the match with a shoulder injury in the second game, Skaneateles did not hesitate. Instead, it stayed patient through another close battle, then scored the last four points of the game to prevail 25-20.
That momentum spilled over into the third game, where Skaneateles bolted ahead 9-1, meaning that it had scored 13 out of a possible 14 points with the second game included. Marcellus, despite a late flurry, never recovered, and the Lakers completed the sweep 25-18.
Ryan Merle set the tone on the Lakers’ front line with 13 kills and five blocks, as Katherine Hill supplied the help with eight kills. Chloe Warner earned 20 assists in her back-line role, and libero Leigh Ryan did a superb job on the defensive side.
For its part, Marcellus had Phillips earn seven kills, four blocks and three aces, as Kayla Howard added six kills. Becca Eddy had three assists, three aces and two kills as Vulcano picked up 15 assists.
Most of all, the Mustangs took stock of what it did right, and wrong, knowing that it will get another shot at Skaneateles back home next Tuesday night, just 11 days after this first clash.
To set up the showdown, Skaneateles had to pass a big hurdle — which it did, outlasting Cazenovia in last Tuesday night’s five-game classic at Buckley Gym.
Even in an intimate, hostile setting, the western Lakers did not get fazed. Instead, it patiently took control of the first two games, winning them by margins of 25-19 and 25-18.
Two different times, Skaneateles had a chance to finish off the match, only to see the eastern Lakers hang in there by claiming the third game 25-22 and the fourth game 25-23.
With Ryan Merle, though, Skaneateles kept the match in its possession, as her big serves led to a 13-3 lead in the fifth and final game. Cazenovia would push hard at the end, but the western Lakers held on for a 25-21 win.
Merle had six aces to go with her 23 kills and five blocks, while Wood had 16 kills and Hill added seven kills. Warner fed all of them with a season-best 40 assists. Alissa Easterly (19 assists, 11 kills), Julie Gregg (15 kills) and Megan Robinson (15 assists) led Cazenovia’s effort.
Marcellus, meanwhile, might have been looking ahead to Skaneateles, as it had to battle hard to beat Homer in four on that same Tuesday night.
Each of the first two games went 25-22 in the Mustangs’ favor, and it nearly blew that lead. The Trojans prevailed, 25-21, in the third game, and the fourth game was close, too, as the Mustangs pulled it out 25-23.
Vulcano, with her 26 assists, set up a front line where Phillips had 12 kills, to go with five blocks. Howard and Jenna Sniffen each earned six kills. Katie Wick (11 kills) and McKenna Riley (23 assists) led Homer’s effort.