Tag Archives: Sophia Messina

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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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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Filed under Newburyport, Triton