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Bobcats battle by Bears to get opening win

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by Joshua Spaulding
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Sports Editor - Salmon Press Newspapers

Plymouth's Abby Bassingthwaite goes up to block a hit from Winnisquam's Laura Slate in action last Thursday. (Photo by Joshua Spaulding) (click for larger version)
September 08, 2021
TILTON — The opening match of the season for the Plymouth and Winnisquam volleyball teams proved to be a good one, as the two teams battled through five games before the Bobcats were able to claim the 3-2 win.

"We have a very young team, so there were a lot of jitters in the first game," said Plymouth coach Jonathan VanScoter. "Once we settled into our game with the lineup that worked, we stuck with it."

"The girls really did a great job," said new Winnisquam coach Rachel Guyer. "This is my first year coaching, my first game coaching, so they did so well."

Winnisquam won the first set before Plymouth battled back to win the next two, but the host Bears forced a fifth and deciding set by winning the fourth set.

The first set saw Plymouth get out to a 5-1 lead behind an ace from Summer McKenzie and a couple of hits from Abby Bassingthwaite. The Bears battled back and got a nice hit from Alyse Damato and then Damato got a service ace as well. After a nice block from Laura Slate, Slate drilled an ace and the Bears pulled even at six.

The two teams went back and forth, with Hanna Fellows getting a nice hit for the Bears and Delaney Skourtis adding one of her own. Winnisquam opened the lead up to 13-9 before Plymouth got a hit from Mansha Patel to get back on the board. Damato added another hit for the Bears and Bassingthwaite did the same for the Bobcats and Triniti Carter had a couple of big aces for the Bears, including the game-winning ace for the 25-15 win.

Plymouth got out to a 3-1 lead in the second set but Winnisquam battled back behind an ace and a hit from Skourtis and a hit from Fellows. Patel added an ace and Bassingthwaite had a hit to put Plymouth up by a 9-4 score and then added a couple of aces as the Bobcats opened up the lead to 12-7.

Winnisquam got an ace from Brylee Jordan and slowly cut into the lead before pulling even at 14 on an ace from Carter. Plymouth got a hit from Sophia Sweet but Winnisquam answered with an ace from Kandace Bellville and Skourtis added a nice tip. Skourtis then added a couple of service aces to stretch the Winnisquam lead to 21-17 before Plymouth bounced back.

Sweet had a pair of aces and Patel and Bassingthwaite had hits and the Bobcats were able to rally to record the 25-23 win to pull even at one.

The third set saw Winnisquam jump out to a quick 4-0 lead behind an ace from Izabella Dill along with a hit from Kaylin Stankatis. Plymouth answered back with an ace from McKenzie and took a 5-4 lead. From there, the two teams battled back and forth, with Patel adding an ace for Plymouth and Bassingthwaite and Kayle Merrifield making nice plays at the net.

The Bobcats were able to stretch the lead to 16-8 and added an ace from Ella Kunz, but the Bears got a hit from Skourtis to help bring them closer. They got the lead down to 18-15, but Plymouth closed things out for the 25-17 win.

Plymouth got early aces from McKenzie, Patel and Sam Sanborn while Bassingthwaite and Merrifield also added hits as Plymouth took an 8-3 lead. Winnisquam came back with a hit and an ace from Slate and then Fellows added another ace. The teams were even at nine, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 before Plymouth got an ace from Patel and a few hits from Bassingthwaite to go up 19-14.

The Bears battled back with aces from Mckala Pelletier, Slate and Fellows and Bellville had a nice return and the hosts eventually pulled out the 26-24 win to force the fifth and deciding set.

Plymouth cruised to the win in the fifth set by a 15-5 score. Sweet, Bassingthwaite and Merrifield had nice hits and McKenzie added a pair of service aces to get out to the 7-1 lead. Patel added another ace, as did Bassingthwaite and Plymouth took care of the win by a 15-5 score for the 3-2 win.

"There were a lot of mistakes on our end of the court, so there's lots to work on in practice," VanScoter said. "We're excited for these young girls and seeing them improve the next few years.

"Hopefully we'll see some gelling out there over the next few weeks," the Bobcat coach added.

Guyer noted that Bellville had a great game in her first time as a setter.

"Candace is a new setter and she was all over the court for us," Guyer said. "She did amazing."

Plymouth is set to host Hanover on Friday, Sept. 10, at 5:45 p.m. and will be hosting Kingswood on Monday, Sept. 13, at 6 p.m.

Winnisquam hosts Pelham on Friday, Sept. 10, at 6:15 p.m. and hosts Laconia on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 6:15 p.m. before visiting St. Thomas on Thursday, Sept. 16, for a 5:45 p.m. match.

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

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