OSWEGO — Never count the Oswego varsity girls volleyball team out.
No matter how many points the Buccaneers were down against Central Square, they continually found a way to crawl back and get right back into contention.
The team’s ability to fight back propelled it to a 3-1 (20-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-23) victory Tuesday at Leighton Elementary.
Even when the Bucs were down 6-0 to start the fourth set, Oswego didn’t quit.
“I called a timeout after we went down in that (fourth) game and said, ‘Hey, it’s now or never, right?’ Oswego coach Tom Grover said. “I’m super happy for them. We’ve had a rough season this whole time. To see them get that excited and win, it was pretty awesome.”
Both teams traded points back and forth throughout the opening set before the Redhawks started to pull away a little bit. Audrey Tetrault led a six-point run, putting Central Square up 20-17, before Allison Domachowske served four consecutive points. Jailynn Patchen closed out the set with a kill.
Central Square took a bigger lead to start the second set, going up 12-6 at one point in the beginning stages of the set. That was until Monae Fenty, with two aces, went on a small run, eventually tying the set at 13-13.
With both teams neck-and-neck, Oswego’s strong serving at the end of the set led them to the victory. Azalia Avery had three aces in a four-serve span, followed by a couple aces from Victoria Payne to close the set. One of Payne’s aces was the set-sealing serve.
“We’ve come so far on our serves throughout the season. I don’t want to jinx it, but we had phenomenal serving and I think that’s what kept us in the game,” Grover said. “The other team struggled with that. That helped us get the edge.”
The Redhawks, again, began the third set taking a quick lead before a few short runs allowed Oswego to gain some ground. Monae Fenty and Avery went on small runs and let the team’s offense do the work. The Bucs finished the set with several kills, and a Riley King kill ended the set 25-18.
Following the 6-0 run from Central Square to start the fourth set, the Bucs crawled back utilizing two- and three-point streaks. They were down a majority of the set, only to eventually come back and tie the set 22-22.
After a deflected block from Oswego went out of bounds, Payne had another kill to tie the set back at 23-23. Central Square called a timeout before the serve went back to Oswego.
“I said, ‘We can’t make mistakes. We need to make sure we make (Central Square) make the mistakes so we’re keeping the ball in bounds and making sure we play smart,’” Grover said. “They did that.”
The Redhawks had a spike go into the net, putting the Bucs at match point before King closed the match with a kill, giving Oswego the 25-23 set win.
“We have to stick to our game and not play to our opponent, but play to our potential,” Grover said. “They did that tonight.”
Fenty led the Bucs with seven aces, five kills, three digs, a block and an assist. Payne had nine kills, four blocks and three aces. Madelyne Vashaw added 10 digs, three aces and two kills. Halia Trapasso tacked on seven digs, two aces and two kills. Azalia Avery chipped in five digs and four aces, while Alexa Kuzawski added four kills and five digs. Riley King recorded 12 kills. Vanessa Ferlito had an astounding 32 assists and added a kill. Riley Reynolds contributed two digs and two aces.
Grover said that Payne — and the rest of the team — has been working on improving blocking, and Grover added he saw progress tonight.
“We’ve worked on the technique, pushing through the ball and penetrating the net,” Grover said. “They’ve been working on it in practice and it’s paying dividends.”
Oswego hosts Fulton for the rematch against the Red Raiders Thursday. The Bucs were swept 3-0 (25-13, 25-18, 25-17) on Sept. 21 at Fulton.
“We need to keep pushing forward and keep using the energy from tonight into Fulton,” Grover said. “They’ve got a really good outside hitter and we need to make sure our blockers are there to take care of her.”