The march toward a fifth straight state title goes on for the Eden girls volleyball team.
The Section VI champions swept Cazenovia from Section III in straight sets, 25-14, 25-20, 25-14, in a Class C subregional on Wednesday night at Sweet Home High School.
The Lady Raiders will continue their quest at Gates-Chili at noon on Saturday, where they will face the winner of Friday night’s matchup between Section V opponents Waterloo and Byron-Bergen.
Eden has won four straight state titles on top of 14 straight sectional titles, so they’re no stranger to big games.
“We have a lot of experience, many of these kids were here last year and that makes a difference,” said Eden coach Stephen Pierce.
Pierce was not exactly ecstatic with his team’s play in the first two sets. He thinks they’ll need to improve to continue to advance.
“We may have started strong, but I was mostly disappointed with our performance tonight,” Pierce said. “Serving was a big issue, we started missing some big serves in the first game and we missed 11 in the second game. It’s like handing our opponents 11 points.”
In the final game, the Lady Raiders overcame some earlier difficulties at the service line and put on a clinic the rest of the way. Service runs by sophomore Meghan Ballou (two aces) and junior Bree Tutuska (four aces) ended up the deciding factor in the final set.
Kailee Ballou closed out the set with four straight service wins and Tutuska rattled off eight straight to break up a 9-9 tie.
“In the third game, Ballou and Tutuska hit a lot of points for us, but for the most part we kind of struggled, we were a little off tonight,” Pierce said. “We’ll get two good practices in and call this an off night. We are one of the most skilled teams in New York, but you have to play with fire.”
In Class B girls volleyball action, Starpoint saw its Cinderella season come to an end in four sets, 27-25, 24-26, 25-15, 26-24, against Section III champion Westhill (16-3). Starpoint split the first two sets, but could not keep up with its taller and quicker opponents from Central New York.
“That was the best team we’ve seen offensively this year,” said Starpoint coach Kristie Slack. Westhill was led by Annaleigh Gedney, daughter of former Syracuse and NFL tight end Chris Gedney.
Junior Jenna Faulkner led the Spartans with 14 kills and 4 blocks. Senior Allison Koithan had 24 digs and senior Hattie Lasal added 14 assists.