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Bears push past Raiders as DeBlasie nears milestone

by Bob Martin
Sports Reporter - Gilford Steamer, WInnisquam Echo, Meredith News

Talia DeBlasie needed just one assist to reach 1,000 after the Winnisquam win over Belmont. Bob Martin. (click for larger version)
September 11, 2017
TILTON — Captain Talia DeBlasie has been a standout setter during her time on Winnisquam Regional High School's volleyball team, and after last week's win against needed only one assist to reach the 1,000-assist milestone.

The Bears beat rival Belmont High School to give them a 2-0 start to the season, after also winning their opening match at home against Mascenic. They won both contests 3-0.

The first game was the tightest, with Belmont coming out to play in their opening match. Coach Mike Livernois said it is clear that the Red Raiders have improved over last season. Belmont had a 3-0 early lead and stayed in the game throughout. However, Winnisquam showed their superior skills and came away with a 25-17 win.

The second game was all Winnisquam, as they took advantage of a 12-point run where it was 20-3 at one point. They ended with a 25-5 win. The third game was much closer at the beginning, with the Bears holding a tight 6-5 lead. Then they took off for another 12-point run and ultimately won 25-10.

Belmont coach Adam Gaulin said he was pleased with the play of his team on opening night, but he is hoping for better results in the future. He said his seniors Jordan Lavallee and Amber Lemay were top performers. Lemay was the libero and had three aces and 19 digs. He added that Chantelle Martin played well, with three kills and two blocks.

"It's a hard loss," Gaulin who understands the rivalry despite being in his first season as a coach in Belmont. "It was fun. I finally got my first game under my belt. It should be a good season. I am looking forward to it. I have a great group of girls."

Livernois said volleyball is a game of rhythm, and much of the day his team didn't have that. He said he is pleased with the two wins so far this season, saying they defeated two quality opponents. He added that he doesn't want to be overconfident, but he certainly likes the way his team looks this season.

He felt that the team looked great serving, defense was top notch and the offense had plenty of energy and speed.

Gabby Isabelle had 13 kills, Shannon Goodwin had six kills, Madisyn Skeats had five kills, and DeBlasie had two to go along with her 21 assists. Skeats also had two blocks and six digs.

Olivia Dill had a great game on defense, leading the team with 10 digs.

Livernois and DeBlasie both agreed that they have a special team this year, with DeBlasie saying she "loves the girls" and that they all get along so well.

Going into the game Livernois thought the game against Belmont might have been the monumental night for DeBlasie, which would have been especially sweet in front of a home crowd facing one of their biggest rivals.

However, he said the win was what was most important and he was confident DeBlasie would reach the milestone in her next game against Trinity.

"It was a team goal, but it wasn't the team goal," said Livernois. "The most important team goal was to play well. That's an improved team. We have to go there for their homecoming. They will have a big crowd and will be pumped up, so the next time we see them, we know that they are going to be pumped up to play us."

Livernois said she had 27 assists in her first game and since she needed only 22 against Belmont he thought it was a very real possibility.

DeBlasie said while the milestone was in the back of her head while playing against Belmont in front of a home crowd, she wasn't disappointed that she had to wait another week to give it a try.

"Honestly records don't mean a lot to me," DeBlasie humbly said. "I try to work for my team. A couple girls came up to me apologizing and it's not on them. It's more about the team. It is just a number."

Winnisquam took on Trinity on Monday and Franklin on Wednesday but the games took place after deadline.

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