OSWEGO — The second-seeded Oswego varsity boys volleyball team swept third-seeded Central Square, 3-0, Wednesday in the Section III Division II semifinal round.
The Buccaneers won 25-14, 25-15 and 25-18 in the process of whipping out the brooms against the Redhawks.
“It’s kind of exactly what I was hoping for,” Oswego head coach Eric McCrobie said. “I was a little nervous heading into the match because I had to jumble some guys around after one of my players got injured over the weekend. The team chemistry was amazing.”
Oswego moves on the sectional final this Saturday at 7 p.m., where they will take on top-seeded Jamesville-DeWitt on the Rams’ home court.
Riley Mahoney led the Bucs with 15 kills, six digs and an ace. Garrett Besaw tabbed five kills, five blocks and an ace, and Cole Pratt chipped in nine kills, a block and an ace. Nate DeVinny added 30 assists and three aces, while Brennan Tynan contributed four digs and an ace. Chris Cote provided a block, and Chris Dempsey had two kills and two aces.
The Bucs got off to a fast start in the first set. Led by a string of solid serves from DeVinny, Oswego compiled some big finishes to take an early 5-0 lead. The Hawks kept it close at 8-4, but booming hits for points from Mahoney and Pratt made it 11-5 Oswego later on.
Further into the match, Besaw, and Pratt once again, provided a handful of clutch spikes to bump the Buc advantage to 17-10. Oswego took advantage of some miscues from Central Square to built its lead to 23-13, and the set ended at 25-14 on a collaborative block at the top of the net by Besaw and Cote.
The beginning of the second set saw DeVinny repeat his efforts with another impressive chunk of serves. DeVinny, aided by a block at the net by Besaw and Dempsey, gave Oswego a 6-0 cushion in the opening part of the second set.
“(Nate) played really well tonight. He got a lot of serves on the court, which is exactly what I asked for from the team this evening. When we get our serves on the court, we’re a really tough team to beat,” McCrobie said.
“Nate really stepped up. He gave our offense some hittable balls. He put the ball in good spots and trusted his team to finish.”
Later in the match, the Hawks cut it to 6-5, but the Bucs went on a small 4-0 run to take a 10-5 lead. Central Square made it 12-9 at one point, but Oswego outscored the Hawks, 6-1, to go up 18-10.
Besaw quickly tapped the ball over the net for a 24-14 Oswego lead, and Cote clinched the set at 25-15 with a kill.
McCrobie gave credit to Cote for his effort on the court.
“He hit some fast-paced balls that I really haven’t seen from him this season,” he said.
Central Square came into the third set with some intensity. The set was tied at 5-5 in the early going, and the Bucs were clinging to an 8-7 lead later on.
Despite the Hawks’ efforts, the firepower from Oswego was too much to handle.
In the middle of the set, Oswego took the score to a comfortable 16-12. Backed by a couple of kills from Pratt, the Bucs took a 20-14 lead.
Oswego went on finish off Central Square in the set by a score of 25-18.
“(Central Square) played with more energy in that third set. I’m glad our guys were ready for. They didn’t just tap out after the first two (sets). They kept their foot on the gas,” McCrobie said.
“Riley did a good job putting balls away for us.”
McCrobie added, “We communicated well on-and-off the court. That was the difference for us tonight.”
Big hits from Mahoney, Besaw and Pratt — among others — helped Oswego shut down any possible march back into the match from the Hawks.
“They certainly did their part on offense,” McCrobie said.
McCrobie was also pleased by Besaw’s defense, whose five blocks on the night were one of a slew of difference makers for the Bucs.
“Garrett also did an amazing job on defense,” McCrobie said. “Central Square couldn’t get its offense going because Garrett did so well with his blocking.”
Next up for Oswego is the sectional final this weekend. The Bucs will make their seventh-straight trip to the title, as they look to win their seventh-consecutive sectional crown.
The Bucs beat J-D 3-2 at home back on Sept. 19, but the Rams swept Oswego 3-0 on Oct. 16. Oswego beat J-D, 3-2, in last year’s sectional final.
Even with a regular-season series tie, McCrobie has high hopes for Saturday’s matchup.
“After the outcome of this match, I’m feeling good (about Saturday),” he said. “I was a little hesitant at the beginning of the week, but we’ve been working hard in practice (the last week). Things are starting to click for us.”