Winnisquam setter Erica Doubleday (left) goes up to the net against Belmont's Shea Callahan during the Bears' 3-0 victory last week in Belmont. Jeff Lajoie. (click for larger version)
October 07, 2013BELMONT – The defending champs showed some of that magic on Oct. 2.
Behind a balanced offensive attack that put pressure on all night long, the Winnisquam Regional High School volleyball team handed Belmont High School its first loss of the season in a 25-17, 25-19, 25-17 sweep. The Bears enter this week 8-1 on the season while the Red Raiders drop to 9-1.
"You can tell why they're beating teams," lauded Winnisquam coach Mike Livernois of Belmont. "They have that desire to keep balls alive. They play with a lot of heart and they're tenacious. If they keep playing like that I think they'll be among the teams left at the end."
The Bears built sizable leads midway through each frame, with the powerful hitting of Hannah Chapin (13 kills), Bailey Long (eight kills), Carissa Archibald (five kills) and Mo Raymond (four kills) causing problems for the Red Raiders.
"That's the hardest hitting team we've seen," said Belmont coach Missy Miner of Winnisquam. "They're a great team. We dug up a lot of balls but they just kept coming at us. I'm proud of the girls though, they hung in there and kept their heads up."
Winnisquam got a strong showing from setter Erica Doubleday, who dished out 25 assists. While the Raiders were able to scramble often to retrieve balls, multiple spikes on long points wore the hosts down.
"I think this was our best match of the season," said Livernois. "It was our most complete game all season anyways. Our defense played exceptionally well and our passing was on. We made it easy for Erica to get to balls and she finished it off."
The opening set got as close as 18-16, though a late serving spree from libero Dallis Austin allowed the Bears to pull away late. Long put down a block on set point for the 25-17 win.
The second frame was highlighted by Belmont libero Jessie Bergeron's 500th career dig, as she recorded it to on a point that ended with a Megan Bailey kill to cut the Winnisquam advantage to 22-18. But Winnisquam didn't flinch down the stretch, and a kill from Raymond and ace from Austin enabled a 25-19 win.
It was all Bears in the third and final set, as Winnisquam jumped out to an 11-4 lead after an Archibald block. The offense was clicking on all cylinders in the third, with Chapin firing off two kills and a block in a four-point run. The Bears took the 25-17 win to finish off the sweep.
"I think these two teams are pretty evenly matched defensively but our offense is just a real strength," said Livernois. "You can see the experience I have with my returning hitters. Come that third game, I think we were wearing them down a little bit."
Archibald paced the Winnisquam defense with 15 digs, while Chapin (10 digs), Austin (10 digs) and Raymond (nine digs) all handled themselves nicely along the back row.
Belmont was paced by Bergeron's 18 digs on her big night, as she was everywhere to spark the Raider defense. Bailey totaled 15 assists to go along with three blocks while Louisa Bergeron (six kills), Shannon Conway (three kills) and Shea Callahan (two kills) also chipped in.
"We need to play matches like this to make us a better team," admitted Miner. "The more tough matches like this that we play, the better off we'll be come the end of the season. We see Winnisquam again so that'll be something to see how we improve between now and then."
The teams meet in Tilton for the rematch on Oct. 25.