Newton North accomplished a feat no other girls’ volleyball team could this season, snapping Barnstable’s 41-match winning streak with a five-set victory (26-24, 25-22, 12-25, 21-25, 15-11) at the Red Raiders’ gym Wednesday.
“Some coaches get good results. But [Barnstable coach Tom Turco] gets good results because he’s organized, he’s professional, he has high expectations, and he unifies his team toward one goal,” said Tigers coach Richard Barton.
The Red Raiders (13-1) have 14 state championships and last lost in 2010, a 3-1 defeat to Medfield. Prior to Wednesday’s matchup, Barnstable had lost three sets all season.
“It works and pays dividends and once in a while someone knocks them off,” said Barton.
And it was anything but easy.
“We knew they were dangerous and the hurdle playing against Barnstable is not faltering and just keeping the pedal to the metal the entire time,” said Barton.
The 2½-hour match came down to a deflection placing the ball on the Tigers side of the court, 10 feet away from any player. Tigers senior setter Keane Brazda dove to pop the ball up three feet from the net, setting up junior outside hitter Infiniti Thomas (six block-kills), who slugged the ball after a weird approach, resulting in a Barnstable attack error. For game point, a Barnstable pass skimmed the net and fell back on the Red Raiders’ side for an error to end the set, 15-11.
“Barnstable just passes everything so well and it was a strange play. They’re true players and it could have easily gone their way,” said Barton.
The Tigers (15-1) have not had a scheduled matchup against Barnstable for the past few seasons but Barton chose this pairing to eliminate any postseason surprises.
“It’s a tremendous confidence boost. My philosophy is it’s better to play top teams and know more about them to build more confidence,” Barton said.
The Tigers’ confidence soared after winning the first two sets. But the Tigers were not able to keep more than a four or five-point lead throughout the game. The high-level competition produced 41 kills for the Tigers. Barnstable was led by Regan Bristol (19 kills), Colleen Koen (10 kills), and Kayla Crook’s 32 assists.
Melrose 3, Stoneham 0 — The No. 2 Red Raiders are 20-0 after a resounding straight set (25-15, 25-17, 20-0) win over their Middlesex League rival. Melrose has an opportunity to finish with the best record in school history with two games remaining in the regular season against Watertown and fifth-ranked Newton North. Senior middle hitter and captain Sarah McGowan (17 kills) led the Red Raiders’ attack in the first set with five kills. In the second set 5-foot-11-inch outside hitter Kayla Wyland led the charge and converted two big blocks late in the set to keep the Spartans (13-7) off balance and prevent them from penetrating the Raiders’ front line.
Bishop Fenwick 3, Lynnfield 0 — The Crusaders moved to 15-4 with the straight-set win.
Ursuline 3, Lowell Catholic 0 — Freshman Jenny Weston totaled 19 assists and five aces in for the Bears (12-6). Junior Casey Lynch had 19 digs.
Apponequet 3, Wareham 0 — The Lakers (11-2-3) clinched at least a tie for the South Coast Conference title.
East Bridgewater 2, Norwell 0 — Senior forward Ethan Forrest connected for both Viking goals, with Jared Burns assisting.
O'Bryant 5, Boston English 0 — After a scoreless first half, the Tigers (10-2-2) blew it open in the second. Senior Kiana Daley and freshman Keena Nicholas each found the back of the net twice.