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Bobcats pull away, knock off Bears

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

Emma Richardson goes up for a hit against the defensive pressure of Erin Tole (left) and Abby Bassingthwaite of Plymouth. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
October 22, 2020
TILTON — As a newcomer to Division II, the Winnisquam volleyball team is still getting to know the other Division II squads.

Last week, it was Plymouth that came to town to take on the Bears and the Bobcats left town with a 3-1 win.

"We came out strong in the beginning and took the gas pedal off when we took the lead," said Plymouth coach Jonathan VanScoter. "We had to crawl out of the hole, but I'm glad they were able to do that."

"We had the first set and then our serve receive let us down and they took the first set," said Winnisquam coach Kevin Archibald. "We were a little shell-shocked in the second set and we didn't show up."

The Bobcats got out of the gate quickly, but the Bears battled back and eventually took an 18-16 lead. Hits from Abby Bassingthwaite and Mackenzie Tatham pulled the Bobcats even at eight. The hosts went up by one, but Makayla Marucci had a hit to again tie the game. Winnisquam went up by two and Plymouth came back with a hit from Maya Prince. Consecutive plays at the net from Delaney Skourtis put Winnisquam up by a 23-20 score but Plymouth came back and tied the score on back to back aces by Tatham. A hit from Bassingthwaite and another ace from Tatham completed the Bobcat comeback with a 25-23 win.

Plymouth got out to a 3-1 lead in the second set with Tatham drilling a couple of aces. Winnisquam came back and tied things at three but an ace from Mansha Patel, a hit from Marucci, two nice tips from Erin Tole and an ace from Bassingthwaite allowed Plymouth to open the lead up to 8-5. Winnisquam got closer with a tip from Skourtis but Bassingthwaite had a hit and Marucci came through with four service aces and Plymouth's lead was 14-8.

Kayla Briere made a nice play at the net for the Bears but Patel answered with a hit. After an ace from Tatham, Briere answered with a hit to keep things close at 16-10. Bassingthwaite had a hit and a block to stretch the lead to 19-11. Marucci and Bassingthwaite had hits and Sophia Sweet added a hit at the net. Marucci had a hit and then Tole finished off the set with a service ace, giving Plymouth a 25-14 win and a 2-0 lead.

The third set saw Bassingthwaite get a block to start the scoring and then added a tip at the net and another block as the Bobcats went up 4-2. A tip from Emma Richardson pulled Winnisquam within one and she then added a service ace as the Bears continued to keep it close. Tole had a hit and then Emily O'Neil answered with a service ace for the hosts to tie the match at seven.

Winnisquam moved ahead by a 9-7 score but Plymouth came back and took the lead on an ace from Marucci and a hit from Tatham. Tatham added a block at the net but Briere added a hit for Winnisquam to cut the lead to one. Bassingthwaite had a hit but Richardson came back with a nice tip for the Bears. Marucci had a hit for the Bobcats and Richardson again answered with a hit for Winnisquam. Plymouth took an 18-14 lead but the Bears battled back and eventually tied things at 19.

An ace from O'Neil and hits from Lauren Slate allowed Winnisquam to take the 23-19 lead before Prince had a hit for the Bobcats. Slate followed with a hit and then finished off the set with an ace from the service line for a 25-22 win.

The fifth set started with Plymouth getting the first two points, but a nice tip from Richardson helped Winnisquam tie the match at two and then again at three. A Bassingthwaite block got Plymouth up by a 6-3 score but Winnisquam battled back and tied the match at six. Bassingthwaite had a hit and added a couple of service aces to stretch Plymouth's lead to 11-6. Marucci added a hit and Plymouth slowly opened up a 17-11 lead.

Bassingthwaite added a hit and a block for a 20-12 lead, but Winnisquam battled back with a hit from Briere and an ace from Slate, cutting the lead to 22-18. Marucci added a hit to get Plymouth closer to the win and then Tole finished things off with a tip at the net and the Bobcats got the 25-20 win.

Tatham had seven aces and Marucci had six while Bassingthwaite had 13 kills and Marucci added nine. Tole had 26 assists.

"I'm disappointed we dropped the third set but it tells them they have to keep pushing until the 25 points are up on the board," said VanScoter. "Winnisquam had a solid defense.

"We had a lot of aces from the line that helped us," the Bobcat coach continued. "Serve errors and serve receive have to be stronger next time we're on the court."

The Bobcat coach noted that the team had five days off after games last week had to be cancelled and coming off those days off, he thought they played a solid game.

"In the third set, we showed up, we put pressure on their serve receive and they had a hard time with it," said Archibald. "In the fourth, we kind of struggled a little and gave up an early lead.

"We fought back but we just couldn't reel them in," he continued. "They have some hitters.

"We haven't seen any of these D2 teams ever, it's hard to prepare for that," Archibald added.

Plymouth is scheduled to close out the regular season today, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. at Gilford.

Winnisquam is scheduled to finish the regular season on Friday, Oct. 23, at home against Belmont at 6:15 p.m.

Sports Editor Joshua Spaulding can be reached at 279-4516, ext. 155 or josh@salmonpress.news.

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