Warriors edged by Tanners in epic match

Oct 8, 2019 by

Published in the October 8, 2019 edition.

By DAN BYRNE

WAKEFIELD— On Friday, the varsity volleyball team hosted Woburn in a matchup of Middlesex League rivals.

It was a thrilling match that saw the Warriors take the Tanners to five sets before Woburn was able to sneak away with the win.

Wakefield started out the game strong in the first set, taking a commanding 9-4 lead before Woburn’s coach called for a timeout.

Woburn then went on to pull within two points at 12-10 before Wakefield’s coach Sasha Duprey called a timeout of her own.

That got the momentum back for the Warriors as they jumped ahead 22-15 before Woburn used its next timeout and regained momentum.

The Tanners went on a run and cut the score to 23-21 before another Wakefield timeout allowed coach Duprey to adjust her team and get them back out to claim the final two points for a 25-22 first set win.

As classic as the first set was, the second set was no let down either. It was basically neck-and-neck the entire set, with neither team pulling more than a couple of points ahead, only to have the other side come right back.

Woburn got the upper hand and ended up taking a wild second set 25-23.

With the match at 1-1 after a pair of thrilling sets, the third set was due to be more mundane – but that was not the case Friday night at the Charbonneau Field House.

In the third set, both teams traded points much like in set two. One team would win a point, then the next point would go the other way. It wasn’t until Wakefield established a 14-10 lead that there was any separation between the two teams.

After leading the Tanners 18-11, Woburn went on a run to claim the next 13 points to move within one of claiming the set at 24-18. With their backs against the wall, Wakefield battled back behind the serving of sophomore Kelsey Manchester and took a 25-24 lead.

“Kelsey Manchester served really well, she was the person on the line,” Duprey said of the thrilling third set comeback. “Maddie Melanson had a fantastic match,” Duprey added. “I think she killed almost every ball she touched.”

Melanson ended the match with 15 kills.

In volleyball, you must win the set by two points, so the third continued until the Warriors claimed a 28-26 set win.

“We were down by about eight points, and we fought back into it,” coach Duprey said, “That showed a lot of grit, we have been talking a lot about grit and playing tenaciously, and it was really nice to see them go out and do that; that was really awesome. I think it shows our potential to play good volleyball and put things together when it is important.”

At 2-1 after three sets Wakefield just needed to win one more set, but the Tanners had different plans.

Woburn controlled the fourth set with Wakefield perhaps feeling fatigue after the effort from the first three sets. Woburn won set four by a 25-15 margin.

“I think we ended up in a hole, we fought well once we were there, but we let them go on too big of a run early on, we came out a little flat, and they just had the momentum at that point,” Duprey said of the fourth set.

With the game tied at two sets apiece, a fifth set was played, with the winner being determined by the first team to reach 15 points. Previously, Wakefield had not played a league game that went into a fifth set. Perhaps Woburn’s experience paid off, as they claimed set five with a 15-7 score giving the Tanners a 3-2 match victory.

“It’s the first time we faced it, so I think the more experience you have in that fifth set helps,” coach Duprey said.

“They kept fighting. It’s hard when you’re down, but they kept fighting and that’s so important because we have more matches and this will hopefully carry over for us,” Duprey said.

“Passing from Katie Pearl and Jordyn Pugsley was really good, they just kept us steady and that’s their job a lot of the time,” the coach said.

Wakefield had some standout performances from players like Pearl, who had 17 kills and 23 digs, Pugsley with 30 digs and Clara Butler with 37 assists, four aces, and three kills.

The coach went on to say, “The big thing I said to them after the match was that we did things we haven’t done before: we were united, we fought together and that just shows our potential that if we play like this the rest of the season the future is bright. We can do some really awesome things and hopefully we just keep improving from where we’re at.”

The Warriors have a challenging week. They fell to Belmont on the road yesterday and will get ready to host 12-0 Winchester on Thursday at 5 p.m. before traveling to Peabody on Friday at 5:15 p.m.

“It’s a long week, but I just want to see this team on the floor every night, and if that’s happening things are going to go our way,” said Duprey.

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