A Milton defender can’t stop a hard hit ball from Walpole.
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
Last Monday night, the Walpole Timberwolves girls’ volleyball team traveled to Milton looking to pick up their third win of the year. But while they played well enough to win two sets, they needed to win three. So instead, while the team fought hard and went the distance against the Wildcats, in the end, they dropped to 2-8 on the year via a five set (15-25, 25-18, 16-25, 25-20, 7-15) loss.
Things didn’t look great early for the Timberwolves, who dropped the first set by a wide margin, then found themselves quickly down 5-1 in the second. However, they managed to fight back, thanks to some nice blocking by Alison Gusmini and some impressive play from Ashley Griffin. Up 20-16, after a Milton timeout, two big Griffin digs and an Ellie Lane block kept the Wildcats from scoring more than two points, as Walpole took the set, 25-18.
With the match even at one set all, Walpole got stuck in a rut midway through the third set, going from leading 6-5 to trailing 12-8 over the course of a few minutes. Up 16-11, Milton went on a very workmanlike 9-5 run to take the set, 25-16.
But in the fourth set, it was the Timberwolves’ turn to go on a run, taking an 11-4 lead in the beginning of the frame. Milton would fight back to 12-12, before taking the lead at 17-15 and forcing a Walpole timeout. It was a good one, as Walpole went on to tie the game at 20-20, then shut out Milton for the remainder of the set, takingg it 25-20.
With momentum on their side, Walpole gathered together and played a hand-slapping game in which they formed a circle and held hands, only to see how quickly they could slap the person next to them’s hand in a a relay race. But, even with JV starting their first chant of the day (it was the classic “give me a W, give me an A, give me an L, give me a P…”) Walpole couldn’t find their rhythm, going from 3-3 to falling behind 9-3, only to watch a completely mishit Milton ball spin in and find a home on Walpole’s side of the net, to put the Wildcats up, 12-5. Walpole couldn’t mount a comeback and lost the fifth set, 15-7.
After the game, while she would have liked to have won the match, coach Clemons was happy with the team, noting: “This game, the team came together. We’re missing some players, and they did a great job overall.”
While her team seemingly had momentum going into the fifth, when pressed on what happened, she explained, “The fifth set was a tough one. We had some tough plays where we were unable to get the point, and overall, unfortunately, it didn’t go our way.”
Still, she applauded the effort of her setter, Morgan Dority and her middles, Ellie Lane and Alison Gusmini, who helped the team take Milton to five sets. Looking forward, her message to the team was a simple one:
“We just have to continue to keep pushing, and try to earn those wins every time we play.”