Paige Block

Falmouth High School’s Paige Farrington scores a block against Barnstable High’s Phoebe Gibson during Wednesday afternoon’s match in Hyannis.

It was going to take a close-to-perfect match for the Falmouth High School volleyball team to earn a road victory on the homecourt of 18-time state champion Barnstable in the first round of the Cape and Islands League Atlantic Division championship tournament on Wednesday, April 14, in Hyannis. The Clippers were very good for the first game of the best-of-three, but the Raiders were slightly better. After winning the first game BHS built on its momentum and never looked back as it steamrolled through FHS with a sweep.

Barnstable won 25-19, 25-10 and 25-9. The loss ended the Clippers’ record at 6-5 for the season. with all of their losses coming to the two teams—Barnstable and Dennis-Yarmouth—that will square off for the league championship on Friday, April 16.

“Its a combination of things. The first point of the game (for Barnstable), I swear to God that the ball bounced off of the ground, and they ended up getting the point. You can’t let down against them, they just keep coming and coming. They keep playing and playing,” FHS head coach Ernie Holcomb said. “I have to hand it to our girls: the first game was definitely winnable, and all things considered—COVID—we got to play 11 games and you can’t be disappointed.”

With some great front row play, the Clippers hung around in the first game and had Barnstable at least a little worried about what FHS was capable of. Falmouth’s blocking up front was a big part of its offense as swats from Sydney Sevigny, Camille Leite and Paige Farrington kept FHS close. The last one by Farrington had Falmouth within three, at 22-19, but Barnstable was able to score the last three straight points as Sidney Higgins converted a couple of service points to close the first game out for BHS.

Barnstable then opened game number two with a big run that changed the match from being close to a runaway. FHS scored the first point of the second game, but then Barnstable—behind some stellar serving from Laura Cogswell—put down the next nine points in a row. The closest the Clippers got in the second game after that was within eight, after a nice three-point run by the Clippers that saw Caroline Koss and Shea Macleod each put down scoring winners. Farrington then had another block that put a point on the board, closing the game to 17-9.

BHS rallied back to put it away, thanks in large part to its dominance from both the service line and its outside hitters. Lyndsey Jones, in particular, had a fantastic day clobbering the ball from the outside for the Raiders.

The third game was just like the first. Barnstable scored 12 of the first 15 points and never faltered. FHS was able to turn many of the points into long rallies, but Barnstable seemed to be able to find winners when it needed them, while the Clippers could not get a break.

Holcomb said things went south for the Clippers once BHS started to serve with precision.

“It comes down to once they got their serves going, our serve receive had to be better, and it was a big decider. They were landing everything,” he said.

The coach said he is pleased with the large group of seniors that will depart the program.

“It was a good senior class; they did very well. You can see the improvement over the course of the year,” he said.

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