Feb 16, 2009 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
To get a third consecutive Section III Class B championship, the Marcellus girls volleyball team would have to undertake an immense challenge in a bracket loaded with high-caliber opponents.
And while the no. 5 seed Mustangs got through the opening round, it could not survive an epic Class B quarterfinal against no. 4 seed Cazenovia, decided in five games Saturday at Buckley Gym.
From 2000 to 2008, Marcellus won the sectional title every year except one — in 2006, when the Cazenovia Lakers broke that string in a five-game classic where it fended off two Mustang match points in the fifth game and pulled it out.
Here, again, a team would face match point and escape — but not finish on top.
Marcellus trailed by as many as four points in the opening game, but caught up at 16-16. They traded points, but at 20-20 the Mustangs edged out in front and went on to win 25-22 to take the early lead.
That lead vanished in the second game, when Cazenovia roared out to an 8-2 edge. Marcellus rallied to get within one, but never could get even, and by a 25-19 margin, the match was tied.
In the third game, Marcellus only led once, at 7-6. Though it stayed close for a long time, Cazenovia still won 25-20 and took a 2-1 lead in games.
The fourth game mirrored the first. Again, Marcellus fell behind as much as four points. Again, it rallied, playing some of its best volleyball of the night in the closing stretch of that game to win 25-20 and send the match to the limit.
Somehow, the fifth game topped all that came before, with no less than 14 ties and numerous lead changes. Late in the game, Marcellus led 19-16, but the Lakers answered with five straight points to take the lead back.
Again Marcellus tied it, at 21-21, only to see Cazenovia go back in front 24-22 and get two match points to end it. But a wide serve kept the Mustangs alive for the moment, and it also won the next point to make it 24-24.
Refusing to fold, Cazenovia got the serve back at 25-24, and Hannah Konnecke’s kill shot to the back line ended the match 26-24, the Mustangs’ earliest exit from the playoffs since the 1990s.
Through the long battle, Kassie Phillips had 11 kills and 10 blocks, while Kayla Howard earned 10 kills and four blocks. Rebecca Eddy contributed nine kills, four aces, five assists and 21 digs as libero Carly Annable earned 25 digs and three aces. Samantha Vulcano had 36 assists, to go with four kills and 15 digs.
Cazenovia had its share of stars, too, as Alissa Easterly picked up 31 assists, 10 kills and 17 digs. Julie Gregg gained 23 digs and 11 kills, with Leah McAleer adding nine kills and 17 digs. Rachel Burbidge (19 digs) and Megan Robinson (eight assists, 16 digs) helped out.
The Mustangs began at home last Tuesday night, handling no. 12 seed Westhill in a three-game sweep. Steadily, Marcellus claimed the first two games 25-15 and 25-19, then fought off a late Warrior surge to claim the third game 26-24.
Phillips had eight kills, with Howard adding seven kills and three blocks. Kelly McInerney earned five kills. Vulcano put together 16 assists.