PATCHOGUE, NY – Junior Bailey Cecchi (Agawam, MA/Agawam) became the newest member of the 1,000 career point club Tuesday night, but Sage fell 3-1 in the first round of the Skyline Championship to St. Joseph's – Long Island.
Cecchi became the fourth player in program history behind Spencer Hilland (2011-13), Dylan Krowocki (2012-14) and Ryan Guyton (Lockport, NY/Lockport), who reached the feat two weeks ago.
The five seeded Gators were led tonight by Cecchi with his second straight double-double. The outside hitter came up with 11 kills and 11 digs while totaling 12 points. Leading Sage in scoring was Guyton with 14.5 points on 13 kills, one ace and one block. Also scoring in double-digits was freshman Shane Wenz (Valatie, NY/Ichabod Crane) with 11.5 points, including a match-high four blocks. Setter Austin Laverty (Schenectady, NY/Mohonasen) recorded 39 assists. Leading the way in digs for the Gators was junior libero Casey Fitzpatrick (Haverhill, MA/Haverhill) with a match-high 12 digs.
On the other side of the net, St. Joseph's, the four seed, was led by with Paul Curaro with 20 points on 14 kills and six aces. Matthew Amberge and Kyle Biggers combined for 24 points with 20 kills and six blocks. Setter Tyler Jones totaled a match-high 40 assists while the Golden Eagles were led by Amberge and Michael Barfield with a combined 17 digs.
After dropping the first set 25-13, jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the second set led by Guyton, Cecchi, Laverty, Tyler Schnaible (Ballston Lake, NY/Shenendehowa) and Zackery Karl (West Monroe, NY/Central Square). After swapping points for 16 serves, St. Joseph's went on a 2-0 run to cut the lead down to 20-16. Sage responded with a 5-1 run to take the set 25-17.
With the match tied 1-1, the third set started in an 8-8 tie before the Golden Eagles went up 17-13. Sage then went on 7-3 run to tie the set 20-20. After three lead changes and two ties, St. Joseph's took the set 25-23 on a kill from Biggers.
In the fourth set, the Golden Eagles jumped out to a 17-12 lead. The Gators scored two straight points on a Cecchi kill and a St. Joseph's attack error to cut the lead down to 18-14, but the Golden Eagles went on a 6-0 run to force a match-point. Sage staged a last minute rally, scoring four straight points until an attack error gave St. Joseph's the game winning point in a 25-18 win.
With the last game of his career in the books, senior Chris MacArthur (Ancram/Taconic Hills) passed Kyle Ray (2010-13) in career points into seventh place with 516. In single-season records, Wenz moved into seventh place in total blocks with 66 while Guyton moved into sixth in kills with 328.
Sage finished the year with a 17-15 overall record with a 6-3 Skyline record. Next year, the Gator program will move to the UVA Conference as a part of Sage's overall conference move at the conclusion of this spring.