Red Raiders Stun Lincoln-Sudbury In Division 1 State Semifinal
By: Tom Moran Jr.
If the Barnstable High girls’ volleyball team needed a theme song for Wednesday night’s Division 1 state semifinal matchup with Central-West champion Lincoln-Sudbury then Molly Hatchett’s “Flirting With Disaster” would have been more than appropriate.
Although the South Sectional champions did indeed do some flirting with disaster, in the end it was the Warriors who saw their world come crashing down when the Red Raiders added another thrilling chapter to the history of BHS volleyball with their come-from-behind 27-29, 25-14, 21-25, 25-16, 15-12 victory.
After splitting the first four games with L-S winning games one and three and the Red Raiders games two and four, it was the Warriors that looked to be ready to move on to a state finals showdown with Newton North when they opened up a 10-4 leading in the fifth and deciding game.
What the Warriors failed to realize is that the Red Raiders now had them right where they wanted them, blitzing the Central West champs with an 11-3 scoring run that put them in position to defend their 2011 state title against the only team to defeat them this season.
“It took us a while to hit our stride but we got it done when it counted,” said BHS coach Tom Turco. “We got a boost from Colleen Kenney, and Colleen Koen and Regan Bristol did what they do all the time. Lincoln-Sudbury is a very good team and this is exactly what I expected this match to be like.”
With the win, the Red Raiders upped their season’s record to 20-1.
The Red Raiders certainly got all they could handle and more from the Warriors but after seeming to take control in the fifth game, Lincoln-Sudbury just didn’t have what it takes to seal the deal.
After winning the fourth game with a display of power volleyball that was delivered by Bristol and Koen, it might be assumed that the Red Raiders would be able to carry that momentum into the fifth game but we all know what happens when you assume anything for it was the Warriors that went right to work.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye, the Warriors had a 4-0 lead and, after the Red Raiders closed to within 5-3 on a kill by Kenney, scored six of the next seven points to open up a 10-4 scoreboard advantage.
The Barnstable comeback had a very innocuous start as the Warriors surrendered the serve and a point on a return shot that went wide right.
With the ball back in their possession and Holly Wilson at the service line, the Red Raiders began to chip away at the L-S lead with Koen and Hannah Andres teaming up to block a shot before a kill and a tip-in by Koen cut the Warrior lead to a single point at 10-9.
Wilson then did a little bit of playmaking, setting up Andres for the kill that evened the score at 10-all.
The Warriors finally broke the Red Raider run and twice moved in front by a point only to have Koen foil their plans with a pair of kills, the second of which gave the serve to BHS libero Stephanie Martin and the junior defensive specialist took care of the rest.Martin stunned the Warriors with an ace and, after an L-S return went long, Bristol banged down the kill that brought the Warriors’ season to an end.
In their matches with both Notre Dame Academy and New Bedford, the Red Raiders spotted their opponents big leads in their first games of those matches before roaring back to claim the victory.
It was more of the same in the first game against the Warriors except this time the opponent did not fade and instead battled tooth-and-nail to pull out the 29-27 decision.
Bristol was the Barnstable offense in the early going but the Red Raiders were having trouble containing L-S outside hitters Mandy Sifferlin and Alex Braverman as the duo took turns finding the holes in Barnstable defensive alignments.
The Red Raiders battled back behind kills by Koen, Andres and Bristol and took their first lead of the game at 17-16 on a Bristol cross-court shot but the Warriors would not go away, fending off three BHS attempts to claim the “W” before using a kill by middle hitter Jess Bursma to claim that “W” for themselves.
The Red Raiders fell behind early in the second game as well but used a six-point service run by Martin to open up a 16-8 lead.
That would prove to be the difference as Bristol knocked down four kills and Koen found the back line with her shot that closed out the Red Raiders’ 25-14 win that evened the proceedings at one game apiece.
The teams traded sides and so did the momentum as the Warriors opened the third game with a 6-1 run and never looked back.
The Red Raiders closed to within three on two occasions but were unable to completely make up the scoring deficit.
The only really good thing that happened for the Red Raiders in the game was the insertion of Kenney into the BHS rotation.
The junior outside hitter connected on a kill and blocked a shot but although it was just not enough to help her team overtake the Warriors in L-S’s 25-18 win, it did portend better things for later in the match.
Again the momentum failed to change sides when the teams did and this time it was the Red Raiders that benefited.
After the teams split the fourth game’s first 10 points, the Warriors tried to put some space between themselves and the Red Raiders with kills by Sifferlen and Braverman but the Barnstable girls would have none of it as setter Kayla Crook surprised the Warriors with a reverse tip-in, then delivered a six-point run at the service line to stake her team to a 16-10 lead.
L-S tried to mount a comeback but there was none to be had as Koen took control at the net, ripping down three kills and coming up with a block before Bristol turned a great diving get by Crook into the game’s final point with the 25-18 win evening the match at two game apiece and setting up the winner-take-all fifth game.
The Red Raiders had plenty of heroes but none were bigger than Crook, Bristol and Koen.
Crook had another sensational outing, racking up 54 assists, 18 service points, a kill and 18 digs.
Bristol and Koen were right there with their fellow co-captain with Bristol connecting for 31 kills, nine service points and five digs while Koen was tormenting the Warriors with her 20 kills, three blocks and six digs.
Martin also had a huge night, coming up with 23 digs and 13 service points, as did Wilson (nine service points, three digs and an assist), Andres (nine kills, 19 digs and three service points), Anna Strock (eight service points and 13 digs), Ciara Bruning (five kills), Nicole Derosier (four digs) and Kenney (four digs, two blocks and an assist) although Kenney’s contribution was much bigger than her numbers as the junior outside hitter brought a spark to the Barnstable offense that wound up burning the Warriors.
The Red Raiders will be back in action tomorrow night at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough at 6 PM. taking on the Tigers of Newton North, the Central-East Sectional champs that earned their spot in the finals with a 3-0 win over Andover on Tuesday.
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