OSWEGO — Living Word Academy got off to a fast start, but the Oswego varsity boys volleyball team picked up momentum and pulled away for a 3-1 victory — Monday in the Buccaneers’ home opener.
LWA was victorious at 27-25 in the first set, but the Bucs went on to win 25-12, 25-15 and 25-11 in the next three.
Nate DeVinny finished with 32 assists, three kills, seven aces and five digs for Oswego. Riley Mahoney tallied 11 kills, two blocks, three aces and seven digs. Cole Pratt tabbed 11 kills and three digs, while Garret Besaw chipped in three kills, a block and two digs. Eric Carson had nine kills, and Brennan Tynan contributed four digs.
LWA found itself with an early 7-4 lead in the first set with Oswego struggling to find its groove. The Bucs cut it to 8-6 later in the set when Pratt stealthy tapped the ball over the net, however, LWA jumped to an 11-6 advantage further in.
With LWA hanging on to a 15-13 lead, Brady Carson's soft tap over the net bounced in-bounds and cut the deficit to 15-14. After the ball went out of bounds in favor of Oswego, the score was tied up at 15-15.
LWA went to great lengths to provide a cushion on its lead, but Oswego’s stingy offense didn’t go away. Oswego’s Carson, Pratt and Mahoney provided some big hits in the air for kills on the score sheet, which eventually sliced the deficit to 20-18.
Oswego knotted up the score at points down the stretch, but LWA fended off the Bucs to lock up a 27-25 win in the first set.
The Bucs gave up 11 intentional points in the first set, which aided LWA’s efforts.
“It’s really hard to win when you give away that many points in a game,” Oswego coach Eric McCrobie said.
McCrobie made some much-needed adjustments in between the first and second sets, which played in Oswego’s commanding 11-6 lead in the second set. Carson chipped in some good serves and Mahoney delivered hard kills to help the Bucs get back on top.
“(LWA) definitely came out of the gate hot,” McCrobie said. “Their top guy was running the team, but we were able to sniff it out and adjust our defense accordingly.”
Oswego skyrocketed to a 17-7 advantage midway through the second set with highlights of aces from DeVinny, and kills once again from Mahoney.
Pratt nailed down the second set at 25-12 for the Bucs with a hammered spike from the left corner of the net. The match was now tied 1-1.
Oswego and LWA switched off leads in the third sets, with 6-6 and 11-11 tied scores sprinkled in.
Back-to-back kills from Mahoney further in the set, however, gave Oswego the upper hand at 13-11. The Bucs then went up 15-11, forcing LWA to call a timeout.
Oswego began to pull away in the third set, beginning with an 18-13 score and even climbing to a 23-14 cushion. DeVinny hooked the ball over the net for a point, solidifying a 25-16 win in the third set and a 2-1 match in the direction of the Bucs.
The fourth set displayed complete dominance from Oswego. The Bucs leaped to a 5-0 lead thanks to a slew of solid serves from DeVinny.
Oswego darted to a 19-9 lead near the end of the set. Mahoney and company showcased booming spikes to take the fourth set (25-11) and the match by a score of 3-1.
“We tried to clean things up after that (first set),” McCrobie said. “We really emphasized getting our serves on the court and making our opponent play volleyball. Once we got rid of the errors, it became clear that we’d come out on top.”
McCrobie sees the 2019 campaign starting out like the 2018 season did: a slower progression of development in his team with a mixed bag of new and veteran players.
“We’re in a good spot right now,” he said. “I think it’ll be similar to last season where we started off a lot of stuff to learn, but later in the season we hit our stride.”
McCrobie harped how the first two sets of a match tell the story of how your season will go. Coach appreciated how his team turned things around after letting the first set slip.
“We got off to a bit of a rocky start, but then we were able to bounce back,” he said. “I think if we do that the rest of the season we’re going to learn a lot from each match. The more we learn, the better we’ll be as a team.”
The Bucs (1-0) head to Fayetteville-Manlius High School Tuesday to take on the Hornets at 6:30 p.m.