FULTON — A mere net violation ended the Fulton varsity girls volleyball team’s season, giving Oswego the victory Tuesday in the Section III Class A semifinal round at G. Ray Bodley High School.
The Lady Buccaneers swept the Lady Raiders in straight sets at 3-0, with wins of 26-24, 25-22 and 25-22.
This match was the third meeting between the two teams. Fulton won on Sept. 23 at Oswego with a 3-0 sweep. On Oct. 22, the Bucs were victorious in a much tighter match with a 3-2 win at Fulton.
“Every single time we play them it’s going to be a close match,” Fulton head coach Pat Hanlon said. “We just gave up a lot because we stopped attacking. That’ll do it.”
Oswego relied on longer streaks after going down by four or five points at a time against Fulton. In the first set, the Lady Bucs came back from 20-13 to eventually win 26-24.
The second set was similar, with the Lady Raiders leading 13-4 toward the beginning, but finished the set in a 25-22 victory. Hannah Holland sealed the win for the Bucs after serving five-straight points.
“Every single point mattered in this game,” Oswego head coach Tom Grover said. “We could not give up.”
After the second set comeback from the Lady Bucs, Hanlon mentioned that the second-set loss mentally took her team out of the match.
“They weren’t bringing it until the end (of the third),” she said. “They played their hearts out. They can’t feel bad about it.”
The Lady Bucs were on the opposite end of the spectrum, with Grover telling his team they just needed to keep the energy going.
“I told them that we had to finish,” he said. “We just had to keep pushing and we were going to beat them.”
Oswego trailed after the first point of the third set and didn’t lose the lead at all for the rest of the way. The teams were only tied at two points during the set, once when it was 1-1 and again when it was 6-6.
When the score was 24-22, with Oswego on the brink of the sweep, Grover had one thing to say to his team while they were still on the court right after he had called a timeout.
“All it takes is one,” he said.
Victoria Tripp recorded eight kills and three blocks for the Lady Bucs. Mary Culeton chipped in seven kills, four digs, two aces, a dig and a block. Holland finished with seven assists, three kills, a dig and an ace. Lilyann Mathews contributed 15 digs, while Alyssa Morley had 16 assists.
Grover highlighted Tripp’s play all over the court, especially in the middle to block against Fulton. He also mentioned Culeton’s accuracy on the attack as well as Holland’s and Nicole Pappa’s serving.
“Mary’s awesome. Her hits tonight were spot on,” he said. “(Serving) is something we’ve worked leading up to this match. The first time we lost to Fulton, we missed a lot of serves. I knew it was going to be a serving game.”
For Fulton, Ella Henderson had 17 assists, 10 digs, two aces and a kill. Chyanne Okoniewski added four kills, three digs, 1.5 blocks and an assist. Sydney Lawson chipped in 13 digs and seven kills. Chloe Hurlbut had four kills, two aces and two digs.
With the sweep, Fulton’s 2019 campaign comes to an end. The team graduates six seniors: Jayda Blakeman, Julie Duval, Ashley Jackson, Lawson, Okoniewski and Hurlbut.
“They had a great run. They were second in the league,” Hanlon said. “They did a really nice job. Way better than last year. They should be really proud of themselves.”
Oswego will continue its season in the Section III Class A championship game against Jamesville-Dewitt Saturday at Fayetteville-Manlius High School. The game is scheduled to start at 2 p.m.
The game will be a repeat of last season’s championship game, where the Lady Rams won 3-2 over the Lady Bucs.
“We’ve got to keep the train going straight on the tracks,” Grover said. “We’re hoping to keep this steam to bring us right through sectionals and then hopefully to regionals.”