February 10, 2010
CHS refuses to fold
Rich Barnes/contributing photographer
Cortland High junior Kaylee Gebhardt contributed eight kills to Tuesday night’s 25-18, 24-26, 20-25, 25-11, 25-9 comeback victory at East Syracuse-Minoa to get the Section 3 Class A volleyball tournament under way.
EAST SYRACUSE — Call it a mild upset, but also call it a strong comeback.
The ninth-seeded Cortland High volleyball team lost two of its first three games at No. 8 East Syracuse Minoa Tuesday night in the two teams’ Section 3 Class A first-round contest, but roared back in the next two to claim a 25-18, 24-26, 20-25, 25-11, 25-9 victory.
The two OHSL Freedom Division opponents had split their two matches this season, and both came in with .500 records. The Purple Tigers improved to 9-8 on the season and will visit top-seeded New Hartford (12-0) at 6 p.m. Thursday, while ES-M finished 9-10.
In another Thursday Class A quarterfinal, No. 10 Chittenango will visit second-seeded Homer (13-3) in a 7:15 p.m. start. The Bears beat seventh-seeded Vernon-Verona-Sherrill 25-23, 25-22, 25-20 in the first round on Tuesday.
“We started out strong in the first game,” Cortland coach Cheri Olson said. “The girls were confident and wanted to win. ES-M didn’t give up and came back in the second game. We were down 19-5 in the third but came back after that and made it respectable. It was a little too late for that game, but we continued the momentum into the last two games.
“The girls played so well, hitting, playing defense and talking,” she added. “All of the things we’ve stressed all year came together, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
A pair of middle backs, senior Lisa Dovi and junior Kelly Knauerhase, had 11 kills each for the Purple Tigers in their victory, Dovi also with an ace and eight blocks and Knauerhase with an ace and six blocks. Junior outside hitter Kaylee Gebhardt had eight kills and an ace, while senior setter Sarah Curtis had 23 assists to go along with a kill and two aces.
“Kelsey Wetherell (junior right side) was our most consistent server, with multiple points to either get us leads or help us catch up. basically, though, the girls played as a team. It was fun,” said Olson.
“The last two games were the best we’ve played all year, and if we play like that on Thursday we’ll have a good chance.”
Laura Adams had 10 kills for ES-M, while Charlotte Visser had six kills and Paige Holt 34 assists.
In Thursday’s other Class A quarterfinals, fifth-seeded Watertown (11-5) visits No. 4 Oneida (11-45) while sixth-seeded Fulton (11-7) travels to No. 3 Carthage (13-3). Fulton earned that trip with a 25-15, 25-19, 25-18 win over No. 11 Mexico.
Chittenango 3, V-V-S 0: The Bears pulled off another mild upset, sweeping past their hosts out of the Tri-Valley League in three straight games to improve to 9-9 heading into the match with OHSL Freedom Division cohort Homer on Thursday.
Brittney Tirabassi had nine kills and Rachel Antelmi eight for the Bears, while Rose Mashie was the top setter with 11 assists while also serving up three aces.
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