Gilford sophomore Jordan Dean skies for a kill during the Eagles' 3-1 Homecoming win over Kingswood on Saturday night. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
September 30, 2013GILFORD – With a packed gym settling into their seats well before the varsity match got under way, Homecoming night at Gilford High School was certainly action-filled for the volleyball team on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles delivered for the blue and white (and pink) faithful on the night, as the squad made it five wins in a row entering this week with a 25-12, 25-15, 20-25, 25-14 victory over visiting Kingswood in the Homecoming finale of a long day at GHS.
"With the Homecoming atmosphere, our whole thing was to focus on just Gilford and Kingswood playing the match," said Gilford coach Joan Forge. "If you start to focus on the outside stuff, you can't focus on what's happening on the court. I thought we did a great job with that tonight."
Sophomore middle hitters Jordan Dean and Maddie Harris led the way on the night, as the talented duo combined for 15 kills and five blocks. Dean chipped in 14 digs to lead the way defensively as well.
"Tonight was amazing," said Dean of the duo playing in their first Homecoming matches as varsity players. "The first couple of points were kind of nerve-wracking but we focused in after that."
"It was definitely exciting," she said. "It's interesting because the crowd is so big so you have to try your best and block that part of it out. It was a very fun atmosphere though."
The Eagles rolled to victory in the opening set, jumping out to a 7-0 lead on the serving of Mikaela Mattice. Gilford cruised to a 25-12 win, and followed that up with a 25-15 win in Game 2. Harris put the finishing touches on both games, as she put down a block on set point in the opening frame before notching a kill for the final point of the second.
But visiting Kingswood wouldn't go away easily, and the Knights built an early 12-5 lead in the third set, forcing Forge to call timeout. While Gilford would climb back within 19-17, four straight errors put Kingswood in the driver's seat. The squad closed out a 25-20 win thanks to another Gilford miscue.
"We lost focus in the third game and Kingswood came out strong and took advantage of our errors," said Forge. "I told the girls to start the fourth that they just took a game off you at Homecoming on our home floor. Go out there and make them pay."
The fourth set saw Gilford regain control, as the hosts stormed out to an 8-1 lead after a Kirsten Dionne block. Kingswood would never get close than six points the rest of the way, and an error on match point sent the Eagles to a 25-14 win that closed out the Knights.
"There was definitely added motivation to come out and play well in the fourth after we lost the third," admitted Dean.
Harris said the problems in the third frame easily could've been avoided.
"We just needed to communicate more," she said. "That's where we fell short. If we just played the way we normally do I think we would've been fine."
Senior setter Danica Gelotte finished with 18 assists, nine digs and three kills in the win for Gilford, while Cassidy Demo (six digs) and Shannon Mercer (five digs) paced the back row. Mattice and Dionne combined for nine kills, while Stratton Coleman (two digs, one kill) and Brooke Marcella (one dig, one kill) also chipped in for Gilford.