Tag Archives: Molly Kimball

Triton advances in D3 tourney with 63-34 win over Worcester Tech

Reese Renda and Sanaii Diaz
Kendall Liebert (21 points)

(Byfield MA) The smiles were nice to see.

The mask mandate was over so the smiles could actually be seen.

And there were plenty of smiles at Triton as the Vikings defeated Worcester Tech, 63-34, on Tuesday night in the preliminary round of Division 3.

The victory put a happy spin on season that had apparently ended poorly with seven straight losses.

There was plenty of contact

The Vikings 8-12 record wouldn’t get them into the playoffs but under the MIAA power ranking system the top thirty-two teams in each division qualify.

“We were at thirty-one for a while but ended up twenty-seventh,” said Triton coach Bryan Shields.

“We found out literally a couple of days ago,” said Kendall Liebert afterwards.  “We prepped for just a few days.”

Elaina Neives (7 points)

To make the pleasant surprise even better was that the Vikings ended up with a home game to start the tournament.  How?  Despite Worcester Tech’s 10-10 record the power rankings placed them south of Triton.

So while the Vikings came out happy to even be there, the Eagles were a little tight.

“My girls came out a little nervous,” said WT coach Stephanie Leveillee afterwards.  “I have a young team.”  There is only one senior.

Triton was 12-for-18 from the foul line

Separation was impossible for about 1 ½ quarters because of turnovers and missed shots by both squads.

But halfway through the second quarter, with the Vikings holding a slim, 14-13, lead, things changed drastically in Triton’s favor.

“Our game plan was to defend, defend, defend,” explained Coach Shields.  “We knew the players we needed to cover.”

Defensive perfection it was over the next five minutes of playing time stretching into the first minute of the second half. 

The visitors didn’t score a point while Triton put up sixteen straight points.

Paige Leavitt applies some defense

When that segment of terrific defense and offense ended the home team was sitting pretty with a, 30-13, lead.

Kendall Liebert (21 points) and Reese Renda (9 points) were keys in the breakaway. Both girls collected six points.  Reese had two steals that turned into layups while Kendall had one, but also scored on an offensive rebound.

Two minutes later a Molly Kimball (13 points) three-pointer boosted the Triton edge to twenty points, 37-17.

WT coach Stephanie Leveillee

Worcester Tech did not go away.  Led by Sanaii Diaz (15 points) the Eagles hung around and narrowed their deficit to 50-34. 

The final 3+ minutes saw the Vikings go on another run of points (thirteen) to close out the game.

“It feels awesome to win a tournament game,” said Reese Renda afterwards.

This was a game in which the enthusiasm on both teams was high and the finesse was not so high.  Plenty of contact and plenty of turnovers resulted.

Molly Kimball (13 points)

“It was really rough out there,” said Molly Kimball.

“We were both pretty hard on each other,” added Kendall. “It was a nice win for our seniors in their last home game.”

“It was fun to play in front of our home crowd and get a win,” said Coach Shields.

Coach Leveillee: “This is my first year as head coach.  To make it to the state tournament is a huge accomplishment for the team.”

The Vikings ended up 7-2 at home. 

Triton hadn’t won a game since January 21st against Lynnfield so it’s not too hard to imagine how sweet this win was for the Vikings.

Worcester Tech plays in the Colonial Athletic League.

                 Triton   8   18   16   21   =   63

Worcester Tech   8     5   12     9   =   34

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Shot block
Caitlin Frary
Liv Kiricoples shoots in the lane
Turnover about to happen
Maeve Heffernan
Reese Renda (9 points)
Michal Frimpong
Layup in a crowd
Molly Kimball and Janavia Hodge
Kendall Liebert
Sanaii Diaz

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Pentucket defeats Triton 60-16

Audrey Conover had a big game on offense and defense
Alyssa Thompson (13 points) guards Isabella Basile

(Byfield MA) It was a tough night for Triton.

“They’re a powerhouse,” said Vikings coach Bryan Shields afterwards.

Pentucket turned in a dominating performance and came away with a, 60-16, win on Monday night.

“We did really well,” said Pentucket coach John McNamara post-game.  Not a soul who watched the game would argue otherwise!

“Our defense set the tone,” added Coach McNamara, “and our transition got us layups.”

The Vikings struggled in the backcourt after getting double-teamed and numerous turnovers/layups followed.

Molly Kimball

The Sachems also were quick to press for scores after getting possession in the frontcourt.

Even when forced to run halfcourt offense Pentucket (11-2) was textbook perfect against Triton’s zone defense.

“Their zone forced us to pass the ball more since you can’t drive against a zone,” explained Pentucket junior Audrey Conover afterwards.

And pass they did.  There were cross-court passes to open teammates on the weakside.  There were give-and-go layups and there were inbound passes for layups.

Maeve Heffernan guards Lana Mickelson (12 points)

“The kids were passing up a shot to get a better shot,” said Coach McNamara.  “They were really unselfish.  It was fun to watch.”

Almost every basket had an assist attached to it unless it was a breakaway off a turnover.

The Sachems took the mystery out of this game early racing ahead, 14-0, after four minutes.  The visitors took three turnovers in for layups and had two three’s (Abby Dube and Gabby Bellacqua) in the breakaway start.

Audrey Conover

Molly Kimball finally ended the Triton scoring drought with a free throw and later added a three-point shot before the quarter was over.

The quarter ended with the score, 23-4.

The Pentucket halfcourt defense was extra tough in the second quarter.  Most of the Triton movement in the frontcourt was sideways with few direct lines to the hoop.  Maeve Heffernan scored in the last minute for the only Vikings basket of the quarter.

Rebound battle

Pentucket led, 39-6, at the half.

“They defend well, and they rotate well,” said Coach Shields, “and they can all score.”

“Playing Pentucket will make us better,” added Coach Shields.  “You don’t gain as much playing weaker competition.  We want to be ready for the tournament.”

The Vikings are 8-8 with four games left.  “We’ve got winnable games ahead,” said Coach Shields.  “Three of the teams (North Reading, Saugus, and Manchester-Essex) we beat the first time around.”

Gabby Bellacqua (11 points)

Pentucket has a big game ahead on Thursday night at Newburyport.  “They are a good team and they beat us pretty good the first time,” said Coach McNamara.  “Right now, however, I’m thinking about Senior Night tomorrow night and that game (North Reading).”

Alyssa Thompson (13), Lana Mickelson (12), and Gabby Bellacqua (11) reached double figures for Pentucket.

Coach McNamara: “The key to the win tonight was the excellent passing of Audrey (Conover).”

Pentucket   23   16   14   7   =   60

Triton            4      2     5   5   =   16

(The pictures will enlarge.)

Brianna Welch double-teamed
Riley Bell guarded by Ally Cacciapuoti
Paige Leavitt goes baseline
Sophia Lesinski
Lia Hatheway
Liv Kiricoples
Audrey Conover in for two
Lana Mickelson double-teamed
Ally Cacciapuoti
Abby Dube
Alyssa Thompson layup
Abby Dube and Alyssa Thompson double-team Isabella Basile
Triton box
Pentucket box

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Triton holds off Lynnfield 52-45

Plenty of exciting action in this game

(Pictures will enlarge when you click on them.)

Bella George (13 points) covers Kendall Liebert (22 points)

(Byfield MA) “It was a great game, back and forth,” said Lynnfield coach Sue Breen afterwards.

A tie after the first quarter was followed by both teams having a lead in the second quarter.  Triton had a tenuous one-point lead going into the final quarter.

In the final quarter, however, the Vikings (5-3) early on combined an effective zone defense with some unanswered offense to take a seven-point lead. Triton never trailed thereafter and secured a, 52-45, win over (1-4) Lynnfield on Sunday afternoon.

Molly Kimball was one of four seniors honored today

The win was special for Triton.  “It was Senior Day, and you always like to get a W on that day,” said Vikings coach Bryon Shields post-game.

Sophomore Kendall Liebert had another big game for the Vikings with twenty-two points.  Seven of Kendall’s points were in the final quarter when this game was decided.

When Kendall wasn’t making layups, she was getting contact on the way in. Kendall was an excellent 10-for-12 from the line.

Junior Bella George paced the Pioneers with thirteen points.

Bella George drives

“Bella George is awesome,” said Coach Breen. “Really steady.”

Bella helped the visitors get to a, 22-15, advantage four minutes into the second quarter.

Triton had answers.  Three’s from seniors Molly Kimball and Maeve Heffernan, as well as a layup by Maeve set up by Isabelle Basile put the home team in front, 25-24.

The Vikings had a 30-26 lead at halftime and a one-point lead (35-34) at the end of three periods.

This one had “tight finish” written all over it.

Kendall Liebert to the basket

But something changed. Triton switched to a zone defense.

“We went into it (zone defense) coming out of the third quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “They had trouble making shots against it and so we stayed with it.”

For two minutes the Vikings shut out the Pioneers. “Our zone defense is one of our strongest defenses,” said Maeve Heffernan afterwards.

A three by Molly Kimball (six points) and a successful drive by Kendall Liebert put consecutive points together and Triton was ahead, 41-34, with six minutes to go.

Taylor Valiton guards Liv Kiricoples

There was plenty of time left for Lynnfield to get back into it and they started to score consistently as Bella George heated up again. But on this afternoon, Triton responded with their own points. One time it was a Brianna Welch rebound basket.  Another time it was a Lia Hatheway three.  Kendall added two assisted layups.  The Vikings came away with a 52-45 win.

“We had trouble when they went zone,” said Coach Breen.  “You have to put the ball in the basket.  It’s an easy game when you can do that.”

Rebound battle

Coach Shields: “It was a dog fight.  The difference was our intensity on the defensive end late in the game and our rebounding.”

Maeve Heffernan: “It was a hard-fought game.  We’re not a team that gives up.  We kept working hard.”

Coach Breen: “We competed the whole game.  I think that it was the best game we’ve played so far.”

The 12:30PM start made for some interesting lighting. 

Coach Bryan Shields

Coach Breen coached Lynnfield from 1994-99 before switching to North Andover from 2000-2013. 

The Pioneers broke a three-game losing streak with a win over Collegiate Charter School (Lowell) on January 4th.

The Vikings were 2-8 last season ending with eight straight losses.  One of those losses was to Lynnfield, 54-20. 

The two teams will meet again at Lynnfield on January 21st.

(The pictures enlarge when you click on them.)

Lynnfield box
Triton box
Isabella Basile
Kendall Liebert on a break
Bella George
Ava Gamache on the floor for Lynnfield
Maeve Heffernan looks to pass
Kendall Liebert (22) up for a block attempt
Maggie Ozanian (8 points) in for a layup
Ball on the floor
Taylor Valiton shoots over Paige Leavitt
Jaelynn Moon guarded by Riley Bell
Triton pressure
Rebound battle

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Triton recovers to defeat Saugus 43-39

(Click on the pictures and they will enlarge.)

Maeve Heffernan chases Peyton DiBiasio
Kendall Liebert (11 points)

(Byfield MA) Two nights ago Triton started out, 13-0, against Swampscott on the road and ended up losing, 40-39, in overtime.

No resemblance to that game tonight against Saugus.

The Vikings were the ones doing the early trailing tonight (by as many as twelve in the second quarter) but at the end they had a satisfying, 43-39, win in their home opener.

“Basketball is a game of runs,” said Triton coach Bryan Shields afterwards.  “They made one early and we made a run late.”

Lia Hatheway

The Vikings (1-1) pulled ahead of Saugus, 29-27, early in the final quarter on a rebound basket by Lia Hatheway.

Credit the Sachems (0-1), they stayed around on a clutch three by Ashleen Escobar and a layup by Fallon Millerick.

The teams were tied, 35-35, with 2 ½ minutes left.

The Vikings took the W by getting the next six points. 

Free throws were crucial in closing time.  Maeve Heffernan and Isabella Basile had one each and Caitlin Frary hit two.  Liv Kiricoples turned an offensive rebound into a basket.

Fallon Millerick and Liv Kiricoples

Meanwhile, things weren’t going as well for Saugus.  During those same two minutes, the Sachems missed the front end of three straight one-and-one’s.  Ouch!

Kendall Liebert and Caitlin Frary paced Triton with eleven points each. 

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the scoring leader for Saugus with twelve points including two 3’s.

Triton struggled mightily throughout most of the first half.  Saugus pressure led to plenty of traveling calls and bad passes.  The Vikings had sixteen turnovers (by my count) in just the first quarter! 

Caitlin Frary made seven free throws

“We started off a little shaky,” said Triton senior captain Maeve Heffernan post-game.

Saugus took advantage, riding three’s by April Aldred and Ashleen Escobar to run off twelve straight points and gain a, 12-2, lead with 2:20 to go in the first quarter.

Two free throws and a layin by Kendall Liebert followed but Triton’s struggles didn’t end.  For almost all of the next eight minutes of playing time, stretching well into the second quarter, the Vikings didn’t score a point and the turnovers continued.

Saugus had a great chance to gain some significant separation but didn’t.  The Vikings defense began to have an effect.  Triton’s zone forced Saugus to rely on outside shots and there were very few offensive rebounds for the visitors.

Ashleen Escobar

“Triton was tough,” said Saugus coach Mark Schruender afterwards.  “Their zone was good.  They have great length.”

“We like to play physical,” said Maeve Heffernan.  “There will be fouls because we’re pressing.”

Triton was a different team in the second half.

“We captured the momentum late in the second quarter,” recalled Coach Shields.  “It was about sticking in.  It was a team effort.”

Saugus coach Mark Schruender

The Vikings reduced their turnovers and used their size advantage to score on the inside or get to the foul line.

Triton had twenty-three turnovers in the first half but only six in the entire second half.

“As the game went on, we found ways to break through their defense,” said Caitlin Frary.  “We found the pockets and got our shots up.”

Ball on the floor

The Vikings put a five-point spurt together in the closing minute of the third quarter (Maeve Heffernan 3-pointer, and two Caitlin Frary free throws) to finally catch Saugus, 27-27.

The Sachems did regain the lead (30-29) on a Samantha Shea free throw and there were two ties after that.  But crunch time belonged to the home team.

“You try not to let the closeness of the game get into your head,” said Kendall Liebert regarding the closing minutes.  “I’m glad we pushed through it.  We’re a good team.  We work well together.”

“We had our seniors back in at the end and they closed the game,” said Coach Shields.  “Molly (Kimball) had a huge block for us.”

Molly Kimball

Eighth grader Peyton DiBiasio was the game’s top scorer.  “She’s a tough kid,” said Coach Schruender.  “Peyton said she wasn’t nervous.  She liked the moment.”

“You expect the fouls and turnovers in December,” added Coach Schruender.  “At this point, the kids are more athletes than basketball players.”

Coach Schruender got a technical called on him when he put the wrong number in the scorebook.  “That’s inexcusable,” he said.  What probably hurt more was that Triton’s Kendall Liebert made both free throws.

Liv Kiricoples

Coach Schruender’s brother Ted coaches the Triton boys’ basketball team and was at tonight’s game. “I’m sure my brother will have lots of notes for me,” said Coach Schruender laughing.

Triton  6  7  14  16  = 43

Saugus 12  9  6  12  = 39

(The pictures will enlarge if you click on them.)

Saugus box
Triton box
Caitlin Frary shoots a free throw late in the game
Isabella Basile chases a loose ball
Reaching for control
Three Vikings chase Peyton DiBiasio
Rebound battle
Vikings double team
Maeve Heffernan and Fallon Millerick
Samantha Shea

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Triton VB advances after sweeping Norton

Triton volleyball wins its first playoff game in school history

(Byfield MA) The first volleyball playoff game ever for the Triton Vikings turned out to be a big success.

Mia Berardino (14 kills) hits into two Norton blockers

Triton defeated Norton in three straight sets.

The game scores were 25-20, 25-17, and 25-16.

“We had a lot of energy but there were nerves,” recalled Triton senior Molly Kimball, “but we settled down.”

The Vikings (11-8) went down 9-13 in Game One and needed a timeout to keep that game from getting away from them.

Triton came out of the timeout, ran eight unanswered points, and were on their way to a three-set sweep of the Norton Lancers.

Senior Mia Berardino connected the Vikings slow start to the schedule.  “It’s hard to play three games a week and then go days without playing,” she said.

Molly Kimball (8)

But the Vikings did get plenty of practice time and it showed tonight.

“We worked on a lot of different things in practice,” said Coach Bob Van Etten afterwards. “We worked on the right side especially and tonight Brianna (Welch) had her best game of the season.”

Brianna finished with six kills and two assists.

Junior Chloe Carter did her best to keep the Lancers in each of the sets with several kills.

Norton (8-10) was tied with Triton at 13-13 in Game Two and 8-8 in the final game but couldn’t keep pace thereafter in either of them.

“We were working with a new lineup,” said Norton coach Kelly Allen.  “We had players coming back from injuries.”

The Lancers lost a key player (Lexi Fleming) during tonight’s match.

“Lexi was injured last season and was coming back from surgery,” added Coach Allen.  “A block tonight irritated her shoulder.”

Kate Andy (5) reaches for a ball

Lexi and her teammate Kate Andy were Tri-Valley League All-Stars last year.

Molly Kimball was a key to the Vikings win with twenty-two assists.

Her setups for Mia Berardino (Stonehill commit) always get the home crowd’s attention. Mia had fourteen kills.

The hard hits are impressive, but Mia has also learned that points can be had by just dropping the ball into an open space.  On the very first play of Game One, Mia was nicely set up for a spike but instead pulled back and dropped a shot into the Norton middle for a point.

Triton has now won seven of their last eight games. They’re in the Round of 16 and will play Tuesday.

“I thought we played well today,” said junior Grace Romine afterwards.  “Bri (Welch) did a nice job with her hitting.”

Mia Berardino made sure that there weren’t any letups after Triton had won the first two sets.  “We’ve been in matches where we win the first two sets and then get relaxed,” she said.  “I insisted that everyone stay focused and win that third game.”

Brianna Welch spikes

Sophomore Kendall Liebert led Triton with five blocks.

I was impressed with the play of Norton’s Sophia Santangelo and Fiona LaCamera.

Mia Berardino: “Tonight was fun.  My parents came and a lot of my friends were here too.”

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

Brianna Welch (21) at the net
Mia Berardino serves
Mia Berardino spikes
Mia Berardino gets a hard hit from the second row
Sophia Santangelo (6) and Fiona LaCamera (7) at the net
Sophia Santangelo (6) returns
Mia Berardino up to spike
Chloe Carter (13) returns
Trinity Cole returns
Kendall Liebert blocks
Grace Romine
Molly Kimball

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Triton sweeps Pentucket on Senior Night

Triton wins sixth game of the season
Molly Kimball (8) blocks

(Byfield MA) Triton shut out Whittier last night and did the same thing to Pentucket tonight.

Senior Night is as good as any to put on a good showing.

Mia Berardino, Molly Kimball, and Raegan Falooon were honored pre-game.

“Tonight was really special,” said senior Mia Berardino. “I’m so thankful that our friends and family came and supported us.”

“We had a lot of people come out for the first time,” said senior Molly Kimball afterwards.

The Vikings (6-7) swept the Sachems, 25-6, 25-17, and 25-15.

Pentucket (1-11) had times of competitive play, led by senior Jillian Sheehy, but consistent play continues to be missing.

The Molly (Kimball) and Mia (Berardino) Show has been fun to watch.  Just when you think that it may go on forever, Senior Night arrives and the two of them are part of it.

Mia Berardino (1) spikes

Molly is the setter you dream about if you’re a finisher.  She consistently puts the ball into the hitter’s sweet spots.  “I love playing with her,” said Mia afterwards.

Molly ended up with twenty-three assists versus Pentucket in just three games. 

“Molly has been averaging over twenty assists in the last seven or eight matches,” said Triton coach Bob Van Etten.

Mia is the finisher that every setter dreams of setting up.  Mia is tall, can jump, and hits the ball with authority.  Pentucket struggled to block Mia’s hard hits at the net.

“Mia had twelve kills on just seventeen attacks, which is crazy,” admitted Coach Van Etten.

Mia will be playing for Division 2 Stonehill next year.

Mia gave praise to her teammates: “It all starts with the passers.  They were very, very good tonight.  It helped us get good sets and hits.”

The Vikings will need to get to .500 to make the playoffs.

Jillian Sheehy returns a shot

“We’re going to keep pushing,” said Mia. “We really want to make the playoffs.”

Triton has five matches left and several of them are with teams they have already won against.

“We’re going to get to .500,” Coach Van Etten promised.  “We’ll be 9-9 or 10-8.”

I was impressed with the serving skills of Pentucket’s senior Nicole Zahornasky and the net play of sophomore Ava Snyder.

Grace Romine, Emma Campbell, and Kendall Liebert should be key pieces in the 2022 version of Triton volleyball.

Emma had five kills.  Kendall had big blocks at critical times.

Coach Van Etten: “I thought we played well on an emotional night.  They enjoyed themselves but got right down to business when the game started.”

Molly Kimball: “I am undecided on college.  Recently I have been in contact with the basketball coach at Salem State.  We have a fall league and she’s planning to come to some of the games.  If that doesn’t work out, I could take a gap year.”

The most difficult sport for me to photograph is definitely volleyball.  The action is so unpredictable so getting in position to get a shot is elusive.  But I love the challenge!

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

Mia Berardino
Molly Kimball
Raegan Faloon
Jillian Sheehy
Grace Romine
Jocelyn Bickford
Brianna Welch (21)
Mia Berardino dives for a return
Mia Berardino set to return a shot
Nicole Zahornasky serves
Maisie King blocks Mia Berardino
Kendall Liebert blocks Ava Snyder
Eloise Kirkpatrick serves match point
Triton poses during the game

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Newburyport rallies to defeat Triton 3-1

Sophia Messina had fourteen kills for the Clippers
Clippers break a five-game losing streak

(Byfield MA) Newburyport hadn’t won in over two weeks.

And they were blown out by Triton (25-10) in tonight’s first set.

After that, the Clippers (5-7) managed three straight happy endings to catch a 3-1 win over the Vikings.

The endings, however, weren’t so happy for Triton.

“Those last three games could have gone either way,” lamented Triton coach Bob Van Etten afterwards.

Mia Berardino had nineteen kills

The Vikings (4-7) led 23-22 in the second game, 25-24 in the third game, and 24-21 in the fourth game.  The Clippers were able to rally back each time; 25-23, 27-25, and 26-24.

“I don’t know what it is about Triton,” said Newburyport coach Lori Solazzo post-match, “it’s always a battle.”

Last time the two teams met, it took five games before the Clippers prevailed.

“We always end up having drastic highs and lows against Triton,” said Coach Solazzo.

“The first game was certainly a low, but we worked through it,” she added.

Anna Rossi had six aces

A key to the win was the play of Newburyport junior Sophia Messina who had fourteen kills.

“I switched her to the outside part-way through the set and she made a huge difference for us,” said Coach Solazzo.

“We struggled with our offense the first two sets and Sophia came out and hit well tonight,” explained Coach Solazzo.

“We’re a work in progress,” explained Coach Van Etten.  “We have a lot of new players.”

Two of the Vikings veterans (Mia Berardino and Molly Kimball) carried the team tonight.  Mia had nineteen kills while Molly had twenty-two assists.

Molly Kimball had twenty-two assists

Mia will be playing volleyball for D2 Stonehill next year.

“The team was very welcoming,” said Mia about Stonehill.  “I love the coach.  I’ll be playing at a D2 level in a very competitive conference.”

“We dominated the first set tonight,” recalled Mia, “but Newburyport adjusted.”

One of the “adjustments” was moving Sophia Messina to the outside.

Coach Van Etten noticed another one: “They kept feeding our setter (Molly Kimball) on free balls to take her out of the play.”

When Molly has a chance to set Mia up, good things usually happen for the Vikings.

Ava Hartley

Newburyport’s Ava Hartley is a senior and has seen Mia play numerous times.  “Mia is insane,” laughed Ava.  “You can’t necessarily stop her.  We wanted to keep the ball away from her and on our side.”

Ava did a good job of blocking some of Mia hits and receiving some of her hard serves.

“Coach has been stressing blocking a lot recently,” added Ava.

Ava is hoping to play volleyball at Endicott next year.  “I’ve been talking with the coach,” said Ava, “and things look good.”

Trinity Cole had twelve digs

Triton has now lost three straight, but they are optimistic about the future.

“We have a path to .500,” said Coach Van Etten with seven matches remaining.  “We have a lot of new players but by the end of the season we’re going to be ready to go.  We should make the states.”

Mia was also optimistic.  “I’m really proud of our team,” she said.  “Almost all of the girls were JVs last year.  They are improving and getting better.”

Mia Berardino up to finish

Ava Hartley: “Tonight was important for us mentally so that we know that we have a team.  We’ve had a lot of losses the last couple of weeks.”

Coach Solazzo: “We knew that this would be a rebuilding year, but we do have a lot of talent.  It’s a matter of who plays where and trying to get that magic combination.”

Anna Rossi had six aces for Newburyport while teammate Abby Dwyer had four blocks.

Trinity Cole had twelve digs for Triton and teammate Kendall Liebert had three blocks.

My wife and I are officially back in Amesbury after 3 ½ months in Maine.  Hoping to cover several area games each week.

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

Brianna Welch with blockers Abby Dwyer and Sophia Messina
Molly Kimball (8) sets up Kendall Liebert
Brianna Welch blocks
Sophia Messina up for a big hit
Mia Berardino set to block and Ava Hartley set to spike
Ava Hartley blocks at the net
Mia Berardino spikes and Anna Rossi blocks
Ava Hartley spikes
Emma Foley sets for Newburyport
Abby Dwyer and Emma Campbell

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Triton sweeps challenging Pentucket in CAL volleyball

Mia Berardino (13) led Triton with thirteen kills.

Katherine Quigley (11) and Arielle Cleveland (21) at the net

(West Newbury MA) What a difference a month makes!

Pentucket continues winless in their first volleyball season but their improvement was noticeable.

“Pentucket has improved considerably since the last time we saw them,” said Triton coach Bob Van Etten after tonight’s match with the Sachems. “Their middle was a lot better.  They passed better and were able to work the middle.  It was a hard-fought win for us.”

Jillian Sheehy readies to hit

The Sachems reached a season-high twenty-two points in the second game.

“Our confidence is getting better,” said Pentucket coach Lauren Bennett.  “The skill levels have improved so much.”

The final scores were; 25-16, 25-22, and 25-18.

Mia Berardino was the star of the show for the (5-11) Vikings.  The tall sophomore was able to produce a steady flow of serves and hits that gave the home team trouble.

“She (Mia) had an outstanding night,” said Coach Van Etten.  “She had a lot of kills, smart hits, and great serves.”

Mia finished with fifteen kills and four service aces.

Arielle Cleveland and Coach Lauren Bennett

“Mia is very, very talented,” said junior Macey Cowl of Pentucket.  “When she gets set up you know it’s coming and it’s coming hard.”

Despite Mia’s impressive performance, Pentucket kept things interesting in all three games.

In the first game, the Sachems rode some Triton errors and Arielle Cleveland hits to a 15-12 lead and a Vikings timeout.  After the timeout, the team from Byfield put a lengthy run together.  The Vikings won ten straight points, with sophomore Molly Kimball serving and Mia getting set up for kills, and Triton gained separation, 22-15.

The best takeaway for Pentucket would be the second game.  The Sachems trailed early, 6-2 and 10-6 before rallying on Triton miscues and Arielle’s serves to tie things at 16-16.  Later a serve by senior Caitlin Kutcher hit the net and dropped in and the game was tied 22-22.  But along came Mia Berardino.  Three straight times she was beautifully set up for kills and Triton escaped 25-22.

Molly Kimball serves

“I give so much credit to our setters,” said Mia afterwards.  “They did such a great job putting the ball on the net so that we could hit it down.”

The Sachems never led in the final game, but the deficit was small (16-15) late in that game.  The biggest cheer from the Pentucket faithful was after sophomore Nicole Zahornasky was able to block one of Mia’s kill attempts and have the rebound drop in for a Sachems point.

Coach Van Etten gave special credit to Molly Kimball: “We were playing a 6-2, not a 5-1, so Molly was only getting half the touches.  For her to get nineteen assists under those conditions was huge.”

Jillian Sheehy: “We had some people step up tonight.  We could have won.  This was one of our best games.”

Nicole Zahornasky checks out

Macey Cowl: “Our serves were good.  We had some really nice rallies.  We’re getting there.”

The Vikings have now won two straight.

“We have more wins than we had last year already,” said Mia.  Mia was a Cape Ann League All-Star last year.

Arielle Cleveland: “Volleyball is helpful for basketball.  It improves my anticipation and my jumping.  I enjoy the game a lot.  We’re progressively getting better.  I have been playing AAU basketball on a team that has been winning a lot of games.”

Mia Berardino: “A lot of things worked tonight.  It was a loud crowd, but we stay focused.”

Coach Bennett: “I could see the disappointment in the girls’ faces afterwards and in some ways I liked that.  Even though this was our best game, the girls still want more.”

The quest for that elusive W will continue for Pentucket.  The rematch ahead with Georgetown might be the place for it to happen.

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

Ava Ford (23)

Caitlin Kutcher

Jillian Sheehy

Katherine Quigley serves

Hit in the middle

Lena Freeman (26) and Molly Kimball (8) at the net

Lena Freeman (26) blocks Nicole Zaharnasky

Macey Cowl (18) blocks

Mia Berardino hits and Macey Cowl tries to block

Mia Berardino

Molly Kimball had nineteen assists

Paige Volpone

Waiting for a serve

 

 

 

 

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