Feb 19, 2008 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
In both league and tournament settings this winter, the Marcellus girls volleyball team had run into Cazenovia — sometimes prevailing, other times getting beat.
And the Mustangs and Lakers would have one more gathering Saturday at Jamesville-DeWitt with the Section III Class B-1 championship on the line — just as it was in 2006, when Cazenovia, in that same gym, claimed a five-game epic over Marcellus.
This match would have a different ending, though.
From the middle of the opening game, the Mustangs were in complete control, exploiting every possible Cazenovia error and producing a three-game sweep for its eighth sectional title in the last nine years.
Senior hitter Lauren Fletcher, who started in that ’06 final, said it was sweet to knock off Cazenovia this time around.
“We always get pumped up for Cazenovia,” she said. “We just came out on top of our game (today) and played well.”
Hoping to repeat its magic from two years ago, the Lakers came to the J-D gym backed by a loud rooting section decked out in gold “ULTIMATE” T-shirts that got even happier when Cazenovia seized leads of 7-3 and 9-6 in the opening game.
Once Marcellus got comfortable, though, it took charge in a more complete way than it did in two regular-season matches, both of which went to four games before the Mustangs prevailed.
It all started with the serves. Big hits by Fletcher and Becca Eddy (who finished with six aces) helped Marcellus go in front, and a 7-1 run to close the game produced a comfortable 25-15 winning margin.
Fletcher went to her customary spot on the front line early in the second game. Her power, combined with more great serves from Rachel Eddy, helped the Mustangs reel off eight unanswered points to take over and go up, 10-3, on its way to a 25-17 decision that made it 2-0 in games.
Marcellus never trailed in the third game, building a margin as big as 11 points (17-6) and bringing it home, 25-17, to close out its sweep.
Head coach Hy Bryant said the strong work of Becca Eddy, Carly Anabele, Samantha Vulcano and libero Sarah Clere led to points.
“Our back-line players did a great job passing the ball,” he said.
Fletcher agreed. “We know that if we serve and pass well, offense comes out of it,” she said.
Even though she had some quiet moments, Fletcher still came up with 19 kills, while Kayla Howard earned five kills. Jenn Daley set up those points with 21 assists, as Kassie Phillips came up with eight assists to go with three kills.
Even though it had to wait 24 hours for weather to subside before it met South Jefferson in the B-1 semifinal last Wednesday night, it didn’t affect the Mustangs’ level of play one bit as it swept the Spartans in three games.
By consistent scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 25-12, Marcellus made sure it didn’t spend too much time on the court, so it had plenty of reserve energy for Cazenovia.
Fletcher still found enough space to get 17 kills, five aces and three kills. Howard gained eight kills and three blocks, while Daley fed them with 24 assists.
The win over Cazenovia helps set up a chance at payback for Marcellus as it meets Mount Markham Wednesday night in the overall Class B final at 7:30, also at J-D.
Those other Mustangs rallied past Canastota in five games to claim the Class B-2 title and, in Jeana Farruggia, have a front-line player as dominant as Fletcher can be.
Every Marcellus player is motivated by the fact that Mount Markham beat them at this exact same spot in the 2007 Class B final, and none of them wants that to happen again.
“It came down to (not executing our) serves last year,” said Fletcher. “As long as we do that, we’ll give them a good game.”