SHREWSBURY — Barnstable successfully defended its Division 1 girls’ volleyball title on Saturday night, avenging its only loss of the season with a 25-19, 25-21, 26-24 sweep at Shrewsbury High to hand Newton North its first defeat.
After falling to the Tigers (22-1) in five sets during the regular season, the Red Raiders (23-1) followed the stellar play of sophomore Riley James (18 kills, 14 digs), classmate Ingrid Murphy (17 kills, 15 digs), and junior setter Caroline Brodt (34 assists and 11 digs) to the three-set win.
“When somebody beats you and you get a second crack at them, it’s motivating,” said Barnstable coach Tom Turco.
“It was a different atmosphere in practice and every day that we stepped in the gym having lost to Newton North. We knew how good they were. We knew how good [sophomore outside hitter Ashley Wang] was especially, and we came out and tried to seize control of the match and that’s what we did from the beginning.”
After losing tightly contested first and second sets, Newton North came out strong in the third, taking a 10-4 lead and eventually a 17-10 advantage. Wang was a key part of the run, finishing the night with 9 kills, 8 assists, 4 aces, and 2 blocks. Sophomore Chelsea Simmons added 11 assists, and junior Michelle Legatova chipped in with seven kills for the Tigers.
“At that point you have to reassure them because they were coming off an ace,” said Turco. “That’s when we talked about closing the gap to three or four, and then you’d have a chance.”
Trailing 17-10, the Red Raiders turned things around, reeling off a 16-7 run to shock the Tigers and complete the sweep. They led for just one point during the entire third set before coming back to win it.
“The kids in this program don’t get rattled,” said Turco. “They weren’t getting all upset and their heads weren’t hanging. They were looking for that next point. We figured if we could get a couple, close it to four, we could get this thing.”Dan McLoone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.