(Newburyport) The (20-3) Clippers have reached the MIAA Division 3 volleyball Final Four.
Newburyport accomplished this by overwhelming Ashland 3-0 on Friday afternoon.
The Clippers have now won six straight matches including three in the tournament.
The #6 Clockers (13-10) struggled in the first two sets before coming to life in the final set to lead for part of it.
However, in that last set, the #3 Clippers fought back to tie the score at 10-10 and sailed home from there.
The set totals were 25-16, 25-13, and 25-12.
Newburyport has gotten better as the tournament has progressed. Maybe they were “scared straight” after nearly losing to #30 Bishop Fenwick in their tourney opener.
“I think that this is the best I’ve seen us play this season,” said junior Zoey Calitri after today’s win.
“Our defense was strong,” she added. “When it’s strong, we can run a quick offense. Then we get to run our middles and that’s an automatic kill.”
Receiving serves successfully was important.
“The key to this win was serve-receive,” said Coach Lori Solazzo. “We knew that they were good servers.”
The Clippers had seen Ashland’s win over Greater New Bedford.
“We watched it,” said senior Viive Godtfredsen, “looking for places we could score. We were prepared for everything.”
“We practiced a lot, so we were ready to play today,” added senior Bea Cortecci.
Senior Sophie Messina paced the Clippers with eleven kills and five blocks that converted into points.
“Sophie has been a force in the middle,” said Coach Solazzo. “People haven’t been able to stop her.”
Sophie was on the scoring end of some terrific setups by Emma Foley.
“Our service-receive was great,” said Sophie. “We’ve been working on that.”
Junior Lily LeDuc finished with ten kills. “Lily had a heck of a game,” said Coach Solazzo.
The Clippers serving was outstanding as their sixteen aces reflects.
“We started the first set strong with a serving run by Viive (Godtfredsen),” explained Lily. “We limited our errors.”
Four of the top five seeds are in the D3 Final Four. Newburyport will face #2 Tewksbury at a neutral site this week.
Viive knows a little bit about (19-4) Tewksbury. “I play club with a few girls who are on the Tewksbury team.”
Can the Clippers advance?
“I knew at the start that our team was talented,” said Coach Solazzo. “I wasn’t anticipating that we were going to go this far but we’ve shown that we belong here.”
The Newburyport captains (Emma Foley, Viive Godtfredsen, Sophie Messina) received the Final Four trophy from an MIAA representative after the Ashland win.
“We’ve got a trophy now,” said Sophie afterwards. “It’s the first time.”
Viive was pleased with the Final Four trophy but added, “we want the next trophy.” That would be the one given next weekend to the Division Three champion.
Coach Solazzo: “We have been focused on our next opponent. We keep saying, ‘One point, one set, one match at a time, together.”