Over the course of two days at Fayetteville-Manlius, they would settle the Section III girls volleyball fall championships, with plenty of local interest in some of the results.
And it would culminate Saturday night with Jamesville-DeWitt trying, and succeeding, to take the Class A title from Oswego after the Buccaneers beat the Red Rams in five sets in the 2017 final.
J-D was on point right from the outset as it took out Oswego 25-20 in the first set, handled the second set 25-15 and then put away the Bucs 25-21 in the third.
Madeline Ferris earned 32 assists, often passing it to Linda Shen, who got a team-best 15 kills and six digs. Alexis LeClair added eight digs as Skylar Hardt got six kills, Cassie Murphy five kills to match Ferris and Fiona McNeil earned four kills.
In its sectional semifinal last Tuesday, J-D had handled Fulton 25-16, 25-16, 25-22 as Ferris set up nearly half her team’s points through 29 assists, adding five kills, two blocks and four digs.
On a well-balanced front line, Shen led with nine kills, with Skylar Hardt getting seven kills and Elsa Hardt stepping up with six kills. McNeil and Murphy had three kills apiece, with McNeil and LeClair each getting three aces.
The Class D final Friday night had Bishop Grimes challenged by Living Word Academy, but prevailing in three sets to repeat as sectional champions against a Lions side it lost to back on Sept. 18.
Having surrendered an early 8-2 lead in the first set, Grimes recovered and then traded points with LVA for a while. Both sides could not convert set points until, at 26-26, Audrey Hathaway’s block created another set point that Grimes converted to win, 28-26.
Both the second and third sets had the Lions out in front. LWA surged ahead 8-2 in the second, but Grimes caught up at 15-15, went in front and stayed there to take that set 25-19.
Remembering that LWA had come back from an 0-2 deficit to beat LaFayette in five sets in the semifinals, Grimes did not relax even as it led 8-2 in the third. Indeed, the Lions did rally to go in front midway through, but it was brief as Grimes regained the lead and stayed there, closing out the match 25-17.
Hathaway finished with 18 assists, with Mara Gutchess getting 17 digs. Raquel McDonald had 10 kills and Abbey Clapper added three kills as McDonald got six digs and Hathaway five digs.
This came after Grimes (13-5) swept Bishop Ludden in last Tuesday’s semifinal. In contrast to their five-set battle on Oct. 10, the Cobras took control against the Gaelic Knights and kept it, winning 25-13, 25-16, 25-22.
McDonald finished with 10 kills and two blocks as Clapper got six kills. Hathaway earned 14 assists as Gutchess, Bella D’Andrea and Becca Vinciquerra had two aces apiece and combined for 10 digs.
Taking the court in its sectional Class AA final right after J-D won, Fayetteville-Manlius was trying to deny Baldwinsville its 10th consecutive sectional title, but could not do so, the Bees prevailing in straight sets 25-19, 25-11, 25-18.
F-M, in order to play in this final, had to first get past no. 3 seed Liverpool in Thursday’s semifinal, a team it lost to in five sets two weeks earlier. This one would also go five sets, but end in the Hornets’ favor.
It could not have started better for F-M, who dominated the first set 25-11, carried it over to a 25-17 victory in the second set and, in the third set, was two points from a sweep.
Liverpool averted it, though, and pulled out that third set 29-27, and then hung on in the fourth set 25-22 to send it to a fifth set. Somehow, the Hornets absorbed all this and, getting the key points late, won another 25-22 decision to advance.