Tag Archives: Ella Gizmunt

Ipswich edges Lynnfield in VB thriller

Ipswich celebrates the win
Ella Gizmunt (6) was a dominating presence for the Pioneers

(Lynnfield MA) “Exciting,” won’t do this match justice.

It was more than that…..and there was no letup in the exhilaration on both sides.

Ipswich (15-1) had two crunch-time rallies and defeated Lynnfield, 3-2, on Tuesday night.

The scores were; 25-21, 17-25, 25-23, 18-25, and 15-17.

Even the fifth game was tight and tense!

The Pioneers (15-3) had been swept 3-0 by the Tigers at Ipswich on September 29th.

But that was then.  Lynnfield came into this game having won eight of nine and they were playing at home where they were 7-0.

The teams were tied at the top of the CAL Kinney Division with identical 11-1 records.

Grace Sorensen (14 kills, 16 digs) for Tigers

The Pioneers had won last year’s abbreviated Cape Ann League season and have a volleyball banner on the gymnasium wall indicating other CAL championships.

Both schools had fans in the house, and it was loud.  It was so loud that at times you couldn’t even hear the loud music.

Both teams had big hitters and there were tons of hard-hit finishes.

Lynnfield’s junior Ella Gizmunt had a night of well setup power hits.  The six-footer knows how to finish.

“We tried to avoid her,” said Ipswich coach Staci Sonke afterwards.  “She’s their best player.  She’s going to go somewhere and play D1.  Our goal was to get the ball away from her as much as possible and make the rest of her team work for it.”

In Game One, Ipswich broke away from a 10-10 tie and led the rest of the way winning, 25-21.

Lynnfield won Games 2 and 4

I thought then of the early-season Ipswich sweep and thought maybe things were heading in that direction.

Wrong on that one.  Lynnfield broke away from an 8-8 tie in Game Two and didn’t look back winning, 25-17.

Game Three held the first of the two crucial late-game Ipswich rallies.  The Tigers were tied 1-1 and advanced to a seemingly comfortable, 22-17, advantage.  But Lynnfield wouldn’t go away.  They ran seven straight points with the Lynnfield side getting more and more involved as the Ipswich lead disappeared.  Now down 23-22, the Tigers’ Ella Stein had a hard hit and a strong serve to restore the Ipswich lead, 24-23.  A Claire O’Flynn spike finished the game in the Tigers favor.

Tired and demoralized?  Ready to give up?  Didn’t notice any of that from Lynnfield in Game Four. Led by Ella Gizmunt, the Pioneers left a 5-5 tie and went on to win, 25-18.  Ella was everywhere on this one with serves, digs, and spikes.  She also showed spike several times and then tapped to an open space.

Ella Stein (10 kills, 6 aces) for Ipswich

The deciding 15-point Game Five had several early ties before Lynnfield moved ahead 13-9, riding the play of Ella Gizmunt. 

The Tigers looked to be in serious trouble but somehow were able to turn the momentum their way and even things at, 13-13.

Lynnfield had match point at 14-13 and couldn’t get it done.

Ipswich had match point at 15-14 and also couldn’t get it done.

(Hopefully, you’re getting a sense of how remarkable this match was!)

With the score tied at, 15-15, Ipswich put two straight points together for the victory.  Meghan Wallace had an important hit in the first Tigers’ point and Grace Sorensen served the match winner.

Claire O’Flynn blocks at the net

“It came down to who had the ball at the right time,” said Lynnfield coach Brent Ashley afterwards, “and who had experience in the big moment before.”

“It was such a competitive match,” said Ipswich senior Claire O’Flynn.  “Either team could have won.  Lynnfield played so hard.”

The victory gives Ipswich at least a share of the Kinney Division title in the Cape Ann League.  A win on Wednesday night (Triton) gives Ipswich the title outright.

Lynnfield setter Sarah Foley had plenty to do with many of Ella Gizmunt’s best hits.

“I don’t think we could have done any better, honestly,” said Sarah afterwards.  “We played our hearts out.  We put everything out there tonight.  Ella (Gizmunt) had a great game.”

Sarah Foley (10) prepares to set up a teammate

“It was an intense match,” said Ipswich sophomore Tess O’Flynn.  “Serving at the end was a bit scary.”

“What a battle this was,” added Coach Sonke. “It was between two really great teams.  Ella (Gizmunt) was unreal.”

“It came down to who made fewer mistakes in the end,” Coach Sonke said.  “and who could make the last serve and who could get the ball on the court.”

“Good for Ipswich,” said Coach Ashley.  “They’re only 5-6 years old and they get to put a number on their banner if they win on Wednesday.”

The big change in the post-season is that there no longer are divisions.  There are now power rankings which will determine the seedings. 

What does that mean for Ipswich and Lynnfield?  Both teams are in Division 4. Ipswich is ranked #1 and Lynnfield #2.

The chance of the two teams meeting in the North Division title match, as under the previous post-season setup, has been replaced by the enticing possibility of the two teams meeting in the state finals.  Now wouldn’t that be something!

“I’m ready to see them in the state finals,” said Sarah Foley.

Who wouldn’t want to see that rematch?

(All of the pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Grace Sorensen serves match point
Tess O’Flynn serves in Game Five
Grace Davie (4) in position to block Grace Sorensen’s spike attempt
Meghan Wallace (27) at the net for Ipswich
Natalie Connell (8) and Meghan Wallace (27)
Grace Davie (4) above the net
Grace Sorensen (2) spikes through two blockers
Ella Gizmunt and Celia Carbone
Tess O’Flynn sets up her cousin Claire
Ella Gizmunt hits hard from long range
Grace Davie (4) and Claire O’Flynn (26)
Liz Linkletter (10 digs, 7 assists)
Ella Gizmunt serves
Ipswich coach Staci Sonke

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Lynnfield VB sweeps Newburyport

Junior Ella Gizmunt had a big night for the Pioneers
Sarah Foley returns a serve for Lynnfield

(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.

Ella Gizmunt (6)

“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.

Emma Foley (8)

“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.

Ava Hartley

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.

Ella Gizmunt (6)

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.

(All pictures above and below will enlarge considerably if you click on them.)

Lynnfield wins 14th
Ava Hartley spikes
Anna Rossi at the net
Abby Dwyer
Sarah Foley (10) and Giuliana Guarracino (11)
Lynnfield sets up for a spike
Ella Gizmunt
Emma Foley (8)
Ava Hartley (10) returns
Ella Gizmunt spikes from the second row
Sophia Messina (3) and Grace Davie (4)
Celia Carbone (7) and Lily LeDuc (5)
Emma Foley
Sophia Calle
Anna Rossi
Ella Gizmunt

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