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Bears can't get on track in loss to Nute

by Jeff Lajoie
Sports Reporter

Winnisquam’s Hannah Chapin gets up for a hit during her team’s 3-1 loss to visiting Nute on Oct. 8. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 15, 2012
TILTON – Almost everything the Winnisquam volleyball team threw at visiting Nute came back over the net on Oct. 8.

The host Bears played well at times, but the defense of Nute proved to be too much, as the Rams came into Tilton and completed a season sweep of Winnisquam in a 25-20, 22-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory in a battle of two of the better teams in Division III. Nute also won in four sets when the teams met in Milton on Sept. 19.

"At times we played well. Other times we didn't," admitted Winnisquam coach Mike Livernois. "They're very fast defensively. It was much closer than the last time we played them but until we can cut down on our mistakes, we aren't going to be able to win a match like this."

The Bears hung around in game one but ultimately fell to 25-20. They trailed early on in the second frame before Felly Pelletier served four straight points to tie things up at 13-13. A big tip kill from setter Elyssa Clairmont put the Bears ahead for the first time in the frame at 14-13, and they extended the lead the rest of the way. Kills from Hannah Chapin and Mo Raymond, as well as some poor passing from Nute allowed Winnisquam to claim a 25-22 win to even things up at one set a piece.

"We have some problems with keeping our energy level up sometimes and that was the case in the second game," admitted Nute coach Kristin Wilson.

The Winnisquam momentum carried over briefly in the third game, with kills from Carissa Archibald and Bailey Long giving the hosts a quick 4-2 lead. But Nute shook off the loss and came back firing. Outside hitter Alisha Flanagan caught fire from both the service line and hitting-wise, and she helped turn a 13-13 score into a 20-15 advantage. Raymond had a kill late in the frame to keep the Bears within striking distance, but Nute took care of business to close out the 25-17 win.

"(Nute is) probably one of the best defensive teams that we play all season long," explained Livernois. "They get to everything. So we have to continually hit it and try to force them into more mistakes. We didn't do a good enough job putting the pressure on them."

The fourth set was back and forth for the most part, with a Long kill giving Winnisquam a 12-11 lead. Nute retook the lead for good at 15-14 however, maintaining a two-point advantage for the rest of the set until the Bears got within 22-21. That's when the slightest margin for error came into play, as a long rally was won by Nute when Winnisquam decided to let a ball go out of bounds and it landed on the line for a 23-21 advantage. The Rams also got the next point when their serve skimmed the net and dropped in for an ace, and a Winnisquam error on a service receive finished off the 25-21 final.

"I think we got outplayed," Livernois said. "I think we're capable of playing with them though. We did it in spurts. But just too many service errors and too many errors on the serve receive. We let them establish a tempo that we struggled to keep up with."

Chapin had seven kills and four digs for the Bears in the loss, while Long chipped in six kills and a block. Clairmont dished out 22 assists from her setter slot, while Raymond (five kills, five digs) and Dallis Austin (eight digs) aided the defensive cause.

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