Burlington storms back to win five-set thriller

Apr 2, 2021 by

Published in the April 2, 2021 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

WAKEFIELD — A playoff atmosphere can absolutely occur in the regular season. 

The Wakefield High volleyball team hosted Burlington at the Charbonneau Field House on Tuesday night with both teams sporting 4-0 records. 

What ensued was a five-set thriller between two teams who refused to give up. 

The Warriors, in their 10th season of competition, were looking for their first ever win over the Red Devils. Burlington has won 30 sets to Wakefield’s three since 2015. Wakefield won the first two sets, 25-13 and 25-19, but Burlington battled back, winning the third and fourth sets 25-16 and 25-14. The roller coaster finally came to a rolling stop when the Red Devils took the last set 15-9 to conclude their epic comeback as the Warriors were left with a devastating 3-2 loss. 

Wakefield’s first set featured strong hitting from multiple players including Mia Desruisseaux and Clara Butler who each had four kills in the first and Talia Thomson who had three. 

Butler also had four assists in set one, but it was her fake sets that caught the visitors off guard, the first of which found the court to give Wakefield an early 3-1 lead after the first of multiple epic rallies in the match. The intensity was high throughout the first as a Claire Donahue dig and diving serve reception from Kelsey Manchester (9 kills, 2 aces) helped cultivate the energy as both teams began to put together fast-paced and entertaining rallies. 

Thomson (8 kills) and Amelia Galvin (3 kills) teamed up for a block that Burlington somehow kept alive leading to the best rally of the set that ended in an error from the Red Devils for a 17-10 Wakefield lead. 

An ace from Hannah Kelly and two more well-placed kills from Butler (6 kills, 26 assists) made it 22-12.

Two strong kills from Desruisseaux (12 kills, 2 assists, 2 aces) and one from Maddie Seabury (11 kills, 3 blocks, 4 aces) finished up the set.

Burlington appeared to be on their way to a victory in set two, leading 15-10 before the Warriors finished on a 15-4 run to take a 2-0 set lead. 

Seabury turned it on for the Warriors during this run collecting four kills and three aces as she dominated the middle of the court to reclaim momentum for the home team. Her most powerful hit of the set cut the Burlington lead to 18-16 before kills from Manchester and Thomson, both from Butler passes, tied it. 

A diving dig from Manchester led to a Desruisseaux kill, a Seabury ace and another strong spike from Thomson gave Wakefield a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. 

Wakefield kept it going for the first couple points of the third, thanks to two Desruisseaux kills but Burlington reclaimed the lead at 4-3 and never looked back as a 10-4 run from there helped them take complete control. 

Burlington maintained that energy in the fourth set, battling back from another early 3-1 Wakefield lead before reclaiming it for good with an 8-0 run that made it 11-5 and closing on a 14-9 run. 

Forcing a fifth set after trailing 2-0 is rare, but even more infrequent is a set five win for the team who lost the 2-0 lead. That’s because momentum is everything in volleyball and Burlington had it all in the fifth as they jumped out to a 6-1 lead and eventually a 7-3 advantage when Wakefield head coach Kayla Wyland called timeout. 

Wakefield admirably fought back as Seabury blocked two shots in a row before sending the third one back for a kill to make it 7-4. A Desruisseaux ace and another Seabury kill from Butler made it 8-6. 

The two evenly-matched teams treated the fans to one more legendary rally, kept alive with a couple of impressive Donahue digs and ended when Butler found Manchester on the outside who finished with power to make it 12-8. Burlington got the last few points on an ace and two kills. 

In the end, while it was surely disappointing for a Wakefield team looking to keep their undefeated start to 2021 alive, the progress made over the beginning of this season was evident against a program that the Warriors have long strived to compete with. They proved on Tuesday night that they can. 

The rematch will take place tomorrow in Burlington at 10:30 a.m. 

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