Excitement for Tuesday’s season opener had been building for weeks for the Austin Prep girls' volleyball team. But after dropping the first two sets against visiting St. Mary’s Tuesday night, it became clear it was going to take something extra to earn a victory.
“It was a little bit of a slow start for us,” said Austin Prep coach Meghan Harkins. “But [the players] quickly learned what they had to do to get that comeback. The energy level really changed partway through the game, which really helped us.”
The Cougars stormed back to take the next three sets, clinching a 16-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-10, 15-13 Catholic Central victory.
It can take time for any team to settle into a rhythm during the season opener. And this fall, amidst a pandemic with mandatory mask-wearing and a new 3-foot line added into the mix, the task is taller. Still, Harkins didn’t think the new rules had much of an impact on her side.
“We have some new players on the team, so it was a matter of feeling everybody out for where they’re supposed to be, and they finally found their rhythm partway through the game," said the coach.
Hayley Taber (4 kills), whose switch from middle to outside hitter helped spearhead the Cougar comeback, stood out among a vocal group of seniors, hungry to make their last season count.
“You could see how excited [Taber] was to play, she wanted every ball, and to get every point she could get,” said Harkins. “[The seniors] put a lot of heart into playing. They set big goals, but goals that are achievable, and it’s nice to see that as a coach.”
Senior captain Amanda Patti contributed six kills and two aces.
Duxbury 3, Hingham 0 — The Dragons (3-0) stayed undefeated, outlasting the rival Harborwomen (3-1), 28-26, 25-19, 25-23. Seniors Sarah Leonard and Livy Antaya, among others, were catalysts all night for Duxbury.
Whitman-Hanson 3, Silver Lake 1 — Captains Sophia Berardinelli (26 assists) and Lily Welch (14 kills) powered the Panthers to the Patriot League win, their first of the season.
Notre Dame (Hingham) 22, Ursuline 37 — Paige Joyce completed the 5K course in 22:33 to lead NDA to the win.
Winchester 39.5, Belmont 32.5 — The Sachems rolled to 5-0 in the Middlesex League with a big lift from Chloe Cordeiro’s 7 and 2 victory at Belmont Country Club.
Nauset 4, Barnstable 0 — A resolute Warriors defense recorded its third shutout in three games and sophomore Nate Wating scored twice to power the offense in the Cape & Islands win.