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By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
With one team member at a wedding in Germany, one on the bench with tendonitis, one at home with the flu and one girl who started the game healthy spending the majority of the second and third sets on the bench holding onto an ice pack, the Wellesley girls volleyball team didn’t have much of a chance against Braintree.
Yet, while they would lose in three sets and drop to 1-2 on the year, the ability and willingness of players to play out of position was admirable last Monday night.
In the first set, Braintree and Wellesley played closely for a while - so much so that Braintree was up only 9-7 when a timeout was called. From there, the Wamps went on a run while Wellesley stagnated. At the next timeout, Braintree led 16-9. A slight Wellesley run that cut the lead to only four was met with another period of stagnation, and from 17-13, Wellesley ultimately lost the first set, 25-14.
The second set started out well for The Raiders, who ran out to a 5-2 lead. Unfortunately, a long delay over whether someone was serving out of turn killed all their momentum; their player stood around for around five minutes, waiting for the referee to resume play. Still, the set was close until, at 15-12, a spike from Annabelle Olson went off a defender’s wrists and onto the basketball hoop, which allowed Braintree to get under it and regroup. In a stroke of bad luck, Wellesley lost the point. Then, at 22-17, a diving effort from Grace Olson wasn’t enough to win the point. Ultimately, they lost the second set, 25-17.
The third set was mostly one-way traffic, with Braintree running out to a 12-2 lead before taking the set 25-15.
Coach Fabian Ardila noted that with so many players out, there was really nothing the team could do. “Not that many people would have seen it, but our two best hitters weren’t here today - one had the flu and the other is in Europe,” said Ardila. “And my setter was on the bench, so basically the libero was setting, and none of the girls that are in the positions they were today, are normally in those positions. But we had to make due with what we had, and that was the bottom line. They just couldn’t put it together, because they’re normally not the ones that are starting.”
Still, Coach Ardila saw some positives in the game, addressing the play of Sarah Tong.
“[I was impressed with] the libero who was setting, Sarah Tong, because she’s not a setter. She did a superb job of trying to create opportunities for our hitters knowing that she’s never set before, but we had to put her in that role because she’s an older kid, has more experience, and knows the game well enough. I want to say she did a superb job at creating the opportunities and minimizing the doubles, because she’s not used to setting.”
Looking ahead, Coach Ardila talked about his team being more disciplined and how differently the game would have been, had his team been at full strength.
“I think my first year here with the girls, the biggest thing we’re moving towards is being disciplined. If we can become a consistently disciplined team, I think that we can do well. Chloe Cator isn’t here, she’s our number one outside hitter. Ida [Duerr-Pucher] is in Germany at a wedding, and she’s our other outside hitter. Coupled with our setter, Patricia [Cerda], who obviously was on the bench, and the outcome would have been completely different. Now, looking forward, I’m hoping that’s what happens.”