Maggie Tolland reaches with one hand to put the ball over the net in front of a Holliston defender.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
In their first game of the year, the Medfield girl’s volleyball team lost to Hopkinton in three sets: 25-13, 25-16, 25-19. They also lost their senior right-side-hitter/wing-spiker, Avalin Boudreau, to a leg injury the same match.
But even though that rough start to the season had the team a bit shaken in the first set, on Friday night, the Warriors would come back to beat Holliston in three sets: 27-25, 25-13, 25-18.
The first set was as tight as a volleyball set can be. With the Medfield crowd cheering and the Holliston JV squad shrieking to try and match them from the other side of the bleachers, Medfield jumped out to a 13-8 lead before Holliston clawed back to take their own lead at 14-13. Down 18-16, Medfield took a timeout, but fought back from being down 21-17 soon after to level the match at 22 and force Holliston to call a timeout. After going up 24-22, Holliston blinked while Medfield stayed calm. A long Holliston serve made it 25-25, when two points later Elli Langton dodged a ball headed towards her that went out to give Medfeld the set, 27-25.
The second set wasn’t very close. An Anna Koch spike and an Elli Langton ace had Medfield up 12-5. With an 8-4 run, Medfield stretched the lead to 20-9. When it seemed they might mount a comeback, Holliston had some bad serves, and at 22-12 it was just a matter of time until Medfield went up 2-0. Holliston JV screamed, but they screamed into the abyss as Medfield took the set 25-13.
What was the big difference between the tight first set and the blowout one right after? According to Coach Cynthia Souza, the team was still a bit shaken after the Hopkinton loss.
“She [Avalin Boudreau] went down in the first game, so that kind of hurt us and upset the team, and we had to switch up the lineup really quick … Hopkinton has been at the top of the league for the last few years so having them as our season opener [was] a tough match, really really competitive match - though our kids never gave up and fought every single point. They were 13-16-19, so each game they improved with the changes we had to make on the fly.”
The third set was close, with Anna Koch putting a couple balls away with authority, despite not being especially tall. It was tied at 10-10 when Medfield went on a run to go up 14-10. Holliston fought back to get within a point at 15-14, but an ace from Tamlyn Shu, a spike from Rachel Parry, and a few mistakes from Holliston led to the Warriors scoring nine of the last thirteen points to end the match with a 25-18 third set.
After their first win, Coach Souza applauded her young team on their fight. “Half of the squad is really young this year; we have four sophomores and one freshman. Then the rest are upperclassmen. This is only our second game of the season but they’re really playing tough, hanging in there and fighting for every point. So they’re doing a great job and we’re really proud of them so far.”
Coach Souza pointed to the play of Rachel Parry and Elli Langdon as highlights, but acknowledged: “It was a solid performance all around by all the girls.
Another solid performance came from the Medfield faithful, who filled a hot gymnasium and made sure it was clear, unlike last year, that home-court advantage would mean something to the team beyond not having to travel.
“We have always had a great and loyal fanbase, because when you have a winning program a lot of people come and watch, and we intend to have another winning year.”