(Newburyport MA) Lynnfield seldom loses to Cape Ann League opponents.
And Newburyport had too many unforced errors tonight to change that.
The Pioneers (14-2) took the match, 3-0, winning 25-23, 25-18, and 25-15.
Sydney Yim (now at Purdue) was a dominating player for Newburyport for several years.
Lynnfield now has a similar player in junior Ella Gizmunt.
“I must have done something right to get Ella on my roster,” said Lynnfield coach Brent Ashley with a smile afterwards.
The six-foot Ella finished with nineteen kills, ten digs, and three aces.
“We had trouble defending her in our back row and when she was hitting from their back row,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo.
“You have to have blockers against a player like her,” added Coach Solazzo.
But the Clippers (6-10) didn’t do much blocking and the result was an evening with frequent hard-to-handle volleys coming their way.
Newburyport squandered a lead late in the first game and didn’t recover in the last two games.
“We came in strong and then we lost our stamina,” said Coach Solazzo. “I don’t have an explanation for it. Lynnfield came back around, and we couldn’t fight them off.”
The Clippers had a 19-14 lead in the first game and forced Coach Ashley to call a timeout. The Pioneers rallied to tie things at 20-20. It was still anyone’s game at 23-23. On the crucial next point, the visitors recovered after hitting the ball into the Newburyport ceiling. The final point was on a serve that the Clippers couldn’t keep in play.
“We knew that Newburyport would make adjustments after their loss to us earlier in the season,” said Coach Ashley. “Lori (Solazzo) has done so many new things with their offense and defense. It took us a while to adjust and figure out what they were doing.”
The slow start tonight didn’t surprise Ella Gizmunt. “Sometimes we start out slow,” she said. “That’s been our weakness this season. The second and third game we were ready to play. We were excited and got some momentum going.”
The home team went down 10-3 in the second game and 13-4 in the third game. Credit the Clippers for fighting back in each game but the unforced errors prevented any kind of threatening run.
“We’ve been battling the unforced errors all season,” said Coach Solazzo. “We talk about it all the time. It’s hard to pull ahead when you have so many of them.”
There were some bright spots for Newburyport. Sophia Messina had seven kills and Ava Hartley had six kills. Lauren Kolman recorded four aces.
I thought that Sarah Foley (Lynnfield) and Emma Foley (Newburyport) each did a nice job of setting up teammates.
Coach Ashley mentioned that big numbers were turned in by junior Giuliana Guarracino: sixteen digs, seven aces, and four kills.
I asked Ella Gizmunt about her volleyball plans after Lynnfield: “I don’t have any definite college plans yet but I’m certainly looking to keep playing. I’m talking to a few schools but no names to mention yet.” Based on what I saw in tonight’s limited sample, I could see her holding her own at the D1 level.
Coach Ashley: “Ella is a fantastic player. She knows the game so well. We knew that she was coming into our program when she was in seventh grade.”
Big game ahead for the Pioneers. On Monday night (October 25th), they will be hosting Ipswich. The Tigers have only one loss. They, in fact, shut out Lynnfield in their first meeting.
Of note is the fact that in the current MIAA power rankings for Volleyball Division 4, Ipswich is first and Lynnfield is second. Hamilton-Wenham is fourth.
“It will be a great match,” said Coach Solazzo.
“The game with Ipswich is really important,” said Ella. “We want to get our redemption.”
Coach Solazzo: “We improved from the last time we played Lynnfield. That was our first and foremost goal today.”
I did some checking on Lynnfield volleyball. Mascores has their VB stats starting in 2012. Between 2012 and now, they have been 178-37. They have been to the state finals or semi-finals six times.
The Pioneers have now won seven of their last eight games.
Newburyport has gone 2-8 since they had a four-game winning streak earlier in the season.
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