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