(Newburyport MA) “It was the best Newburyport match that I’ve watched since we started,” were the happy words NHS coach Lori Solazzo had for her team’s performance afterwards.
“They were communicating,” said the 4th year coach. “They were in it together. One girl went for a ball and there was another one was behind her. They were really focused in on this match.”
The Clippers (3-2) never gave Hamilton-Wenham a chance in the first two sets (25-7 & 25-13).
Then there was the third set.
The Generals ended up losing that one, 27-25, but HW coach Jen Flynn was pleased with how they played.
“I think that they did a great job coming back the way they did after the first two game,” said Coach Flynn. “It showed grit and a desire to win.”
Coach Solazzo had high praise for senior Sydney Yim (Purdue commit) post-match. “Her setting (15 assists) was amazing tonight. We can’t have the hits we get without her. She’s awesome. She was nearly flawless in tonight’s game.”
Junior Ava Hartley was one of those benefitting for Sydney’s setups. “She always gives me nice setups in the perfect spot every time. We did a 5-1 tonight so she was setting all of us up.”
The Generals (3-2) were far from perfect in the first two sets. Balls fell in and there were few successful spikes.
Everything changed in Game 3. “Hamilton-Wenham is usually a pretty good matchup,” explained senior Kate Sarras. And right she was in the third game.
HW cut down the miscues and led by setter Emma Day and hard-hitter Mia Flynn gave the Clippers a run for their money.
HW had a 23-20 lead before Newburyport called a timeout. Back came the Clippers to tie the score. HW twice after that had game point (24-23 & 25-24) but the Clippers put three straight points together to end a very exciting game.
“A lot of people stepped up for us tonight,” said sophomore Viive Godtfredsen (ten kills). “We struggled against Triton the other night, but we proved ourselves to be better than that tonight.”
Newburyport’s serving was very good. “We talked about service runs and how important they are,” said Coach Solazzo. “It changes the match when you decrease your unforced errors.”
“We’ve been working on our serving and our service receiving a lot in practice,” explained Ava Hartley, “and it showed tonight.”
Coach Flynn: “The Newburyport program has gotten better each year that I’ve watched them with Lori (Solazzo) coaching. The core of their whole team has been raised over the last couple of years.”
Coach Solazzo: “We had a lot to come back from after the Triton loss. Since then, we’ve had a lot of conversation on what we needed to do to get better.”
Coach Flynn: “I have a different mindset this year. Every second we can be playing is a bonus. We’re trying to have fun being together. We try to pull positives from every experience we can.”
Senior Kate Sarra: “We played well and our energy was up. In the fall, I’ll be attending Eastern Connecticut State. I expect to study Sociology and minor in Psychology. I am hoping to play volleyball there. I’m currently talking to their coach.”
(All of the pictures will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)