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PATRIOT CUP | VOLLEYBALL

Quincy girls’ volleyball makes a smashing return to capture Patriot Cup in five sets

Jubilant Quincy players celebrated their Patriot Cup title after their riveting 20-25, 24-26, 27-25, 25-17, 15-11 comeback over previously unbeaten Duxbury Friday night in Kingston.
Jubilant Quincy players celebrated their Patriot Cup title after their riveting 20-25, 24-26, 27-25, 25-17, 15-11 comeback over previously unbeaten Duxbury Friday night in Kingston.DebeeTlumacki

KINGSTON — Entering Friday’s showdown with Duxbury, the Quincy girls’ volleyball team had not dropped a set during the Fall I season.

Against the Dragons, the Presidents lost the first two, but they still found a way to win the Patriot Cup championship match.

Quincy , the top seed from the Fisher Division, stormed back to stun Duxbury , the 1-seed from the Keenan, 3-2, for the title at Silver Lake Regional High.

After Duxbury prevailed 25-20 and 26-24, Quincy (13-0) fended off two championship points to steal set No. 3, 27-25. The Presidents used that momentum to take the next set, 25-17, and then outlasted the Dragons, 15-11, with the season on the line.

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“You can come back from anything,” Quincy senior Ashley Grehan said. “You just have to have the mind-set.”

The Dragons relied on their power at the net early to pull ahead, 2-0, as Mackenzie Proukou, Katie Quilty, and Sarah Leonard peppered the Presidents with vicious spikes. Quincy, however, proved it could use its defense to keep points alive.

In the three sets that followed, the Presidents started turning that defense into offense, and the results were fruitful.

“That’s what I kept saying,” Quincy coach Jacqui Niosi said. “We’ve got to play defense, we’ve got to play defense, we’ve got to play defense.”

Annika Schmitt’s finish clinched a back-and-and-forth third set, and Quincy managed to stay alive. Emma Glavin, who served at 100 percent for the match, got rolling in the fourth set. The fifth set was extremely tight, but Quincy pulled ahead, 10-9, and never trailed again.

Senior Alyssa Ryan led the Presidents with 39 digs, senior Rachel McKenna racked up 15 kills, and senior Priscilla Bonica had 30 assists to highlight a balanced effort. Seniors Emma Ruel, Livy Antaya, Nora Buell, Liz Lemieux, and Leonard wrapped up storied careers for the Dragons.

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“This is my favorite team in all the years that I’ve coached,” Duxbury coach Pam Thomas said. “They’re a spectacular group of girls.”

The Duxbury seniors will graduate with a 71-16 record, four league championships, and two sectional titles, but this night ultimately went Quincy’s way.

In a fall initially filled with uncertainty, Friday’s match provided a captivating ending to a volleyball season unlike any other the Patriot League has seen.

“I said to these kids that if I had to pick any team I’ve coached to be in this situation with COVID, and not knowing what was going on, they would be the team that I would pick,” Niosi said. “They never complained once about the shortened season. They never complained about no state tournament.”

Duxbury's Sarah Leonard extends her finger tips for a tap over the net as Quincy's Ashley Grehan (left) and Bridget Hoare defend the play Friday night.
Duxbury's Sarah Leonard extends her finger tips for a tap over the net as Quincy's Ashley Grehan (left) and Bridget Hoare defend the play Friday night.DebeeTlumacki
Quincy's Rachel McKenna fully extends to make a return in Friday's Patriot Cup final against Duxbury at Silver Lake Regional.
Quincy's Rachel McKenna fully extends to make a return in Friday's Patriot Cup final against Duxbury at Silver Lake Regional.DebeeTlumacki