Red Raiders Tame Cougars
By: Tom Moran Jr.
For the 17th time in the last 18 years, the Barnstable High girls volleyball team will be vying for a Division 1 South Sectional championship after the host Red Raiders dashed the tournament hopes of Notre Dame Academy of Hingham, bouncing the Cougars into the offseason with the 3-0 win at the BHS gym last night.
The Red Raiders’ third win of the season over the Cougars not only upped their season’s record to 18-1 but also put them on a collision course with longtime rival New Bedford in sectional finals action tomorrow night at 5 PM in Pembroke.
The Whalers, the South’s top-seeded team, earned their spot in the finals with a 3-0 win over Walpole last night’s other Sectional semifinal.
The final outcome was decided in the very first game as the Red Raiders rallied from an early 12-5 deficit to pull out the 25-22 win and after that the Cougars were just marking time and were unable to keep the Barnstable squad from closing out the shutout with the 25-18 and 25-19 victories.
Leading the second-seeded Red Raiders on the night was setter Kayla Crook, who made the extraordinary look anything but in racking up 28 assists, eight service points and eight digs.
Giving her plenty of support were middle hitters Regan Bristol (16 kills and five digs) and Colleen Koen (nine kills and two blocks) and outside hitter Ciara Bruning (five kills, two blocks and six digs).
The story of the match was told in the first game with the second and third games merely postscripts to the come-from-behind win by the Red Raiders that took a lot out of the less-tournament-experienced Cougars.
The Red Raiders got off to a very slow start as Cougar outside hitter Julia Flynn was banging down kills from every angle to help her team jump out to a 12-5 lead.
A kill by Koen (the winning difference for the Red Raiders in the game) got the comeback started although the Cougars managed to hang onto the lead until an ace by Holly Wilson knotted the score at 21-21.
The Cougars regained the lead but only momentarily as Koen and outside hitter Hannah Andres combined for one block after which Bruning rejected a shot by ND middle hitter Julia Marshall before Koen finished the comeback win with a pair of cross-court kills.
The Red Raiders went right back after the Cougars in the second game as libero Stephanie Martin (another standout performance with 15 service points and nine digs) opened the second game with a seven-point run at the service line that put the Cougars in a hole they would not escape.
Bristol powered the early run with two kills and a block as the Red Raiders ran out to the 7-0 lead.
From that point on neither team was able to put together anything that resembled a scoring run as the early seven-point advantage wound up being the final margin of victory.
Koen again gave the Red Raiders the game-winning point, ripping a kill through the middle of the ND defensive alignment.
The third game was a tug of war with the Red Raiders doing their best to take care of things in a forthright manner while the Cougars were forcefully refusing to throw in the towel.
The Cougars looked like they might be able to make some kind of a stand with three kills by Flynn helping them take a 10-6 lead but that lead was just not big enough as the Red Raiders pulled even at 10-10 on a combined block by Bristol, Bruning and Meghan Mamlock.
Although the visitors refused to let the Red Raiders open up a substantial lead, they were unable to overtake their hosts, twice closing to within a point but never being able to pull even.
The Cougars cut the BHS lead to 18-17 but got no closer with a combined block by Koen and Bruning and a great Koen kill off an even greater backset by Crook set the stage for Bruning, whose kill through the heart of the ND defense kept the Red Raiders in the hunt for their 15th state championship.
Also getting the job done for the Red Raiders were Andres with two kills, seven serviced pints and four digs, Strock with eight service points, Wilson with four service points and three digs and Nicole Derosier with six digs.
Leave a Reply
In order to comment you need to be logged in.