Cazenovia A massive opportunity stood right in front of the Chittenango girls volleyball team when it went down the road to Cazenovia’s Buckley Gym to take on top seed Canastota in Wednesday night’s Section III Class B semifinal.
Win this match, and the no. 4 seed Bears would get to play on its home court for the championship match against Adirondack. And Chittenango gave it a full effort, only to fall to the perennial power Raiders in four sets.
Even though a tough schedule had prepared the Bears for any sort of eventuality, it still had a nightmarish start against Canastota, falling behind 10-1 in the opening set. Chittenango closed within 19-18, but the Raiders reeled off six straight points to take the set 25-18.
But that mid-set rally had given the Bears some confidence, and in the second set it took over early, relying on the work of Claire Charde and Brianna Koegel to claim that set by the same 25-18 margin as the opener.
The third set, as it usually does in a 1-1 match, proved pivotal. They went back and forth until Chittenango saw a slim 19-18 lead disappear, Canastota picking up four key points to move ahead. Though the Bears closed back to 24-23, the Raiders got that last point to take the set 25-23.
That seemed to break Chittenango, and in the fifth set Canastota easily prevailed 25-15 as Melissa Krak managed 18 kills and Grace Campbell added 13 kills. Maureen Krak contributed 32 assists as Jessie Boswell had 13 digs.
On the Bears’ side, Gabby Loftus (eight kills, five blocks), Koegel (seven kills, 10 digs) and Emily Gibbons (six kills, 14 assists) were part of a balanced front line, as was Charde, who recorded nine blocks and three aces. Meg Arnold added nine assists and six digs. Maddie Seguin had 16 digs and five kills as Katrina Farsaci managed eight digs.
Chittenango had advanced this far by beating Holland Patent in four sets in the Class B quarterfinal on Feb. 7. After winning the first set 25-19, the Bears dropped a close second set 25-23, but pulled out a long third set 28-26, which broke the Golden Knights as the fourth set turned into a 25-14 rout.
Gibbons augmented her 16 assists with six kills, while Arnold had 14 assists. Loftus recorded a team-best 12 kills, with Charde managing eight kills, three blocks and two aces. Seguin had seven kills and Koegel added six kills as Farsaci managed 12 digs.