(Newburyport MA) Six straight wins for Newburyport.
Tonight it was a 3-1 win against North Reading on Senior Night.
“It wasn’t our best effort,” said Clippers coach Lori Solazzo afterwards, “but I’m very happy with the win.”
Newburyport (7-2) has a win against every team in the Cape Ann League except Triton.
A rematch between those two teams is scheduled for Wednesday at Triton.
“I’ll be pretty disappointed if we play like we did last time (3-1 loss) against them,” said Newburyport senior Kate Sarra post-match.
Tonight, the sets went; 25-20, 25-17, 21-25, and 25-12.
“We came out slow tonight,” said NR coach Mike Milone. “We weren’t clicking together very well and didn’t take advantage of their errors.” NR had won two straight.
In Game One, the Hornets (4-5) trailed the entire game but were close to the lead most of the way. It was 22-19 late but the Clippers wouldn’t give in. Sophomore Ava Hartley dropped shots in and served well.
Sydney Yim has been noticeably good in every game I’ve seen her play. No surprise that she’s in D1 Purdue’s plans in volleyball.
It’s not the big hits, although you see a few of them, it’s the steady diet of consistent play. Some of her setups were so good that you actually wanted to come out of the stands and take a whack at them!
Tonight Sydney had a good eye for open spaces on the North Reading side that were reached with soft shots.
In Game Two, the Hornets started strong (9-8 lead) but then the bottom fell out. With Kate Sarra serving, Newburyport pulled away, 17-10, and NR couldn’t recover. Sophomore Sophia Messina finished the match with a neat drop shot.
The third game was the most exciting. Things were tied at 8-8 before the Hornets, led by Sarah Gerber, gained separation, 21-10. Newburyport was down, but not out yet. The Clippers put seven straight points together and suddenly the NR lead was just 23-21. But the visitors hung tough and a nice hit by the Hornets Celia Standel was the game winner.
“We may have been too cocky in the third set,” said Kate Sarra. “We had won two sets and just fell apart at the start of the third one.”
Sydney Yim was key in the decisive 4th game. She set up teammates, especially Abigail Gillingham, and put away shots herself. A 16-11 Clippers lead was 25-12 at the end.
“We played with them a while,” said Coach Milone. “We just weren’t able to keep it up. We should have been playing like a seasoned team, but we weren’t.”
“Our energy was good tonight,” said Abigail Gillingham afterwards. “When we got down in the 3rd game, we picked it back up in the 4th.”
“We got the win, but I thought North Reading was scrappier,” said Coach Solazzo.
Sydney Yim (21 assists), Ava Hartley (9 kills), Abigail Gillingham (7 kills), Laney Lucci (5 digs), and Kate Sarra (5 aces) led the Clippers.
Coach Milone: “Sarah Gerber was good tonight. Her blocking, hitting, and passing were solid.”
The regular Cape Ann League season ends this week. There will be a tournament next week although there has been nothing official on how many teams will be in the tournament. Lynnfield with one loss (to Newburyport) and Newburyport with two losses (Lynnfield & Triton) will certainly be playing in it.
Coach Milone: “The season has been short and fast. I am incredibly excited that our eight seniors have been able to have a season.”
Newburyport’s four seniors (Sydney Yim, Laney Lucci, Abigail Gillingham, Kate Sarra) were honored afterwards.
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