(Byfield MA) Triton had never won a match against Hamilton-Wenham.
They had won a game, back in 2016, but that was it.
When you’ve lost every match (twelve straight) to an opponent, you can’t call it a rivalry.
But that all ended today, as Triton (5-2) swept the Generals (3-4), 3-0, on Monday at Triton.
Labeling it as a sweep, betrays how competitive two of the three games were.
“It’s always nice to compete against Hamilton-Wenham,” said Triton coach Karen Christian afterwards, “they traditionally have been very strong.”
The Generals were strong in the first and third sets suffering tough, 25-23 and 25-21 losses.
The middle set was all-Triton as junior Mia Berardino served the Vikings to eleven straight points on their way to a 25-7 rout.
“Triton, like Newburyport (D1 commit Sydney Yim), has a player who is a strong leader,” said HW coach Jen Flynn referring to Mia Berardino.
Mia ended up with nine kills and seven aces.
The first and third sets were close and entertaining. There were multiple, extended volley’s that brought ooh’s and aah’s from those on both sides.
“There were some amazing plays,” said Coach Flynn. “Some balls you just didn’t think would get over, but they did.”
The close games got Triton senior Jess Manganello tired. “All of us were hustling and talking,” she said. “I am not used to running so much in a game.”
The Generals looked ready, in the first game, to continue their dominance over the Vikings. They jumped in front, 11-7, before Triton tied things at 13-13 and 19-19. Hard hits were handled by both teams.
The visitors moved to 23-19 before the home team rode the hard-to-handle serves of Evelyn Pearson on a six-point run and a 25-23 win.
The game ended on a terrific Molly Kimball setup that Mia Berardino finished.
“Molly had a great game,” said Coach Christian. “She was very smart with her sets and she was hustling, getting to everything.”
Molly ended up with twenty-five assists.
In the third game, HW led early (8-7) before the Vikings rolled on Evelyn Pearson’s serving to a commanding 18-11 advantage. HW’s Charlene Fibbe and Hannah-Marie Akoury kept the Generals in the game.
HW was able to cut their deficit to, 23-21, as they just refused to make mistakes.
Fittingly however, Triton’s two big hitters (Mia Berardino & Evelyn Pearson) were set up on the next two plays for hits that would have been challenging for D1 college players to return and the Vikings had a 25-21 win……and the match.
“This was one of the more exciting matches of the season,” said Coach Christian. “The kids came with lots of energy.”
Evelyn Pearson (eleven kills): “I thought we played pretty good. Our communication was excellent.”
Senior Jess Manganello: “We’re all proud of how we played tonight.” (Next year): “I am going to take a gap year, work, and take some courses at community college.”
Both teams have three games left.
Triton’s win tonight gives them five and ties them with the most wins in a season the Vikings VB program has ever had. They were 5-15 last year and 5-11 in 2015.
This has certainly been a special season for the Vikings……with more games to go. I believe that there also will be some post-season playoffs.
The best team in the Cape Ann League is certainly undefeated Lynnfield. After the Pioneers, however, the remaining teams are on the “any-given-night” level.
All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.