Junior Ivy Gogolin (7 blocks, 5 kills) had a monster defensive game for the Hillers. Classmate Amanda Gilbert added eight kills while senior captain Julia Canestrari contributed eight. Junior Rachel Zale tallied 12 assists to lead an evenly-distributed offense.
“We have an awesome defense, but it starts at the net,” said Hopkinton coach Margie Grabmeier. “When the blockers go up, the defense knows to just set up alongside of them. When you have someone like Ivy and Jill right there in the middle kind of taking over the net, it’s hard to get around it. The rest of the court is pretty much taken care of.”
Hopkinton (22-2) stormed to an 11-4 lead that the Cougars (22-2) never recovered from. The Hillers took advantage of numerous blocks to grab the first set. Down 2-0, the Cougars made a bid to extend the match during the third set, but a 10-2 run by the Hillers squashed the comeback attempt and cemented the sweep.
“We typically have come out strong all tournament long,” said Grabmeier. “We’ve tried to take that first game and just ride the momentum — It’s a great group and they are mentally and physically strong.”
Down 2-0, the Cougars made a bid to extend the match during the third set, but a 10-2 run by the Hillers squashed the comeback attempt and cemented the sweep. Senior captain Mary O’Malley led NDA with 28 assists.
“We are not strangers to battling back,” said Grabmeier. “We’ve done it all season long in different matches . . . Volleyball is a mental sport, and being able to dig deep and know that you’re good. They’re here for a reason. They’ve had a great season.”Dan McLoone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.