It wasn’t just the Bourne High School varsity volleyball team that had a successful fall. The junior varsity squad also had a winning season, ending the year at 16-4 and making it clear that the future for the Lady Canalmen is in good hands.
The JV team opened the season with a five-game winning streak. After topping Dighton-Rehoboth in their opener at home on September 4 by a score of 2-1, BHS took to the road, sweeping Seekonk 2-0. They went on to defeat Falmouth in a non-conference match and then took care of Case and Apponequet.
“Right away I knew we were going to be a strong team,” coach Kelly Cook said. “We had so many talented girls with a knowledge of the game. In that opening match with D-R Christina Ruggeri earned a spot as a hitter. She was one of our tri-captains. She is athletic and strong, with an unbelievable vertical and had a great swing by the end of the season. She recorded many of our kills throughout the year.”
On September 11 against Case another player locked up a role for the rest of the season.
“Emma Pacheco really stepped up and took over the role of setter,” coach Cook said. “She did a nice job of setting up plays and communicating. She was a vocal presence on the court and her hustle allowed us to keep the ball alive in many difficult situations.”
Bourne suffered their first setback on September 16 in a loss to Greater New Bedford Voc Tech, but bounced right back two days later to beat Wareham, launching another five-game winning streak. On the 23rd the team defeated Fairhaven 2-0 and then, with the help of long service runs by Lily Healy and Skye McCarthy, they defeated Old Rochester two days later.
“Lily is a well-rounded player with a fantastic serve,” Cook said, “so many teams struggled with returning her serve. She played all positions well and is a great defender because she is such a consistent passer. She has a great swing and is developing into a very good hitter.”
Three-quarters of the way through the season McCarthy began joining the varsity squad for practice.
“Skye had clearly worked on her skills in the offseason,” coach Cook said. “She improved immensely in consistency in all aspects of the game. She was an offensive and defensive threat for us, creating a strong presence at middle hitter and blocker.”
The Lady Canalmen dropped two in a row on October 2 and 7 to Seekonk and Case, but bounced back, posting a third five-game winning streak beginning on the 9th against Apponequet.
“In that game against Apponequet, Baillie Power led the comeback with a 10-point service run,” coach Cook said. “We had several come-from-behind wins this year and that says a lot about the team. Baillie was relentless in her pursuit of success. She is very strong and athletic and smart about the game. She has all the tools to excel. She is versatile player who played all positions well this year and has really developed as an outside hitter. By the end of the season she was recording a lot of kills for us.”
After losing to GNBVT in their first meeting of the season, the Lady Canalmen evened the score on October 11 on the road.
“Natalia Gordon had a lot of defensive saves that night that kept the ball alive,” Cook said. “She is an excellent defensive specialist and a solid server all year, as well as one of our tri-captains. We were fortunate to have Tina [Ruggeri], Natalia and Hanna Leach as our captains. They were our sophomores and all great leaders. They encouraged everyone and led by example.”
On October 25 in their second meeting with Fairhaven the Lady Canalmen suffered their fourth setback of the season by a 2-1 score.
“It was probably our best game all season as far as the level of play,” the coach said. “It was highly contested, with long rallies that showed just how far we had come. Hanna played great defensively that night at middle blocker and had several nice blocks. She brought so much intensity to the team and has such a competitive spirit. She has developed into a great presence at the net for us.”
Four more freshman, Olivia Johnson, Megan Wesson, Anna Commesso and Cassandra Allen added to the team’s success this fall.
“Olivia is the epitome of a team player,” coach Cook said. “I could ask Olivia to play any position and she would do it with a smile on her face. She is a strong defensive player, who could fill in at setter, and was a strong consistent passer by the end of the season. Megan is also a very strong passer and was a great utility player for us this year. She passes to the target consistently and we could call on her for defense when needed. She has a good swing and is developing her hitting game. Anna was called up to the JV about halfway through the season. She makes consistent passes to the target, which makes her an excellent candidate to play as a defensive specialist. She is a true team player and works hard at developing her game. Cassie is very strong when she serves or attacks and other teams simply could not return of defend against her. With more consistency she will develop into a formidable offensive player.”
The Lady Canalmen ended their season on October 28 with a non-conference 2-0 win over Falmouth.
“I think our record speaks for itself,” coach Cook said. “We had a great season. We had really good team chemistry right away and it translated to the court. The kids were very resilient, bouncing back when they had to and didn’t get down. They improved consistently. I’m very impressed with the team dynamic. They are young, but they played with a maturity beyond their years.”
The Bourne varsity squad will lose six players to graduation, creating some spots for players to move up.
“I’m excited about the talent we have moving up,” Cook said. “We had fun and I am really proud of the way they played all season. I’m going to miss this team.”