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Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018: Spencerport held to tie that extends unbeaten streak

   Leading off today: Spencerport and Our Lady of Mercy played to a scoreless tie in the first round a tournament featuring unbeaten and state-ranked girls soccer teams Friday.

   Host Spencerport won a penalty-kick shootout 4-2 to advance to its tournament final, though the game goes into the books as a tie and extends the Rangers' unbeaten streak to 55 games.

   Spencerport won an outright NYSPHSAA state title in 2016 and shared the 2017 crown with Pearl River. The Rangers are ranked first and Mercy eighth in the most recent New York State Sportswriters Association ratings.

   Spencerport goalie Cat Wall made eight saves and the Monarchs' Lauren Kepes registered five stops.

   More about streaks: Mercy's game at Spencerport was of particular interest to me because of the streak. I'd gone out last week to watch the Rangers play a game and do a few interviews for my column for the Press & Sun-Bulletin coming up this weekend knowing that Mercy was the most imposing obstacle in the way of history being made.

   The Rangers' streak is closing in on Westhill's 59-game unbeaten streak from 1995-97 and they are on pace to potentially break that presumed state record in their regular-season finale next month.

   With that in mind, I dialed up an expert on the subject of impressive winning streaks and was regaled with outstanding insight and funny stories by Sally Kus, who coached Sweet Home girls volleyball to 292 consecutive victories from 1978-87. It was the first time I'd had occasion to speak with her, and I quickly realized what I'd missed out on all those years while she was head coach at Sweet Home and then Cuba-Rushford.

   Two of her stories in particular stuck out to me, though I didn't work them into the column.

   First, her career in volleyball began almost accidentally in 1974. Kus was more interested in basketball or softball, but Panthers AD Bob Barczak needed a coach for the fledgling volleyball program.

   "I didn't know what I was doing," she recalled, "but he said I just need you to coach one or two years. My first team knew 100 times more than i did."

   Barczak talked Kus into a second season, encouraging her to immerse herself in the sport.

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   "So I started going to camps and clinics to get better," she said. "You don't know what you don't know until you know."

   The second story said volumes about how the aspiring Davids of the volleyball world were eager to take their shot at Goliath in the midst of the incredible winning streak.

   "A lot of tournaments began with pool play with two games against teams," Kus said. "So if we would split that wasn't a loss because it didn't count as a match. But teams would bring extra money if they tied us and say, "Hey, it's 1-1. We'll pay the refs for a third game.'"

   More Spencerport: I stirred up a bit of a hornets nest Saturday while tweeting during an idle moment at the McQuaid Invitational cross country meet.

   There was a variety of reactions both on social media and via email. A bunch of people missed the point and wondered whether the schools reported the score in a prompt fashion.

   In my mind, that's not even close to the real issue.

   I don't often do it, but I felt criticism of local media was legitimate in this instance. Fully recognizing that newsrooms have been stripped as thoroughly as a Mercedes parked in front of a drug house, it's pretty awful that no one knew and/or cared that the game of the year in Section 5 regular-season soccer was being played and that the score would be of interest to readers and viewers.

   Games between unbeaten football teams on the same weekend certainly got attention. Sorry, but whiffing on a marquee girls contest is not a good look for newspapers or TV.

   More girls soccer: Brigid Duffy scored with a minute to play in the first half as Queensbury scored a 1-0 win over Averill Park, ranked 11th in the state in Class A.

   Kaileigh Hunt made four saves for Queensbury, which improved to 8-0-1.

   Super-sized numbers: Stamford, Texas, senior quarterback Peyton Bevel threw for 789 yards and 12 TDs to set state 11-man records and outgun De Leon 90-62 in a Friday football game.    Bevel's last TD came with less than two minutes remaining when he connected with Tre Mitchell, who had 305 receiving yards and three TDs, on a 79-yard play.

   De Leon QB Kevin Yeager accounted for eight scores in a losing effort.

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