Lenox Holds Off South Hadley to Win Quarter-Final
LENOX, Mass. -- The Lenox volleyball team Monday already suffered one epic collapse.
It was not about to go through another.
The Millionaires got a big block from Kayanna Black down the stretch to hold off South Hadley in the fourth set of a 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 25-22 win as Lenox advanced to Wednesday’s semi-finals in the Western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.
The sixth-seeded Tigers (15-5) staged a rally for the ages just to get to that fourth set.
Lenox had two sets in hand, the serve and a 21-9 lead when South Hadley called a timeout late in the third.
The visitors proceeded to score the next 15 points to get to set point. After a sideout for Lenox to get within 24-22, Sophia Papulis’ kill gave South Hadley the third set.
In the fourth, Lenox built a nine-point lead when two points on Riley Burke’s serve got the margin to 20-11.
But, again, South Hadley refused to go down without a fight, rallying all the way back to within four points with an ace to make it 23-19. But on the next point, Black’s block got the serve back and gave Lenox five match points.
Four points later, a violation against a South Hadley attacker at the net awarded match point to Lenox, touching off a wild celebration.
Millionaires coach Bessena Cabe admitted that as the Tigers crept back into the fourth set, he was feeling a touch of deja vu.
“A little bit,” Cabe said. “It worried me a little bit. But, hey, I think we knew what we had to do, and the girls executed very well. We set up a game plan out there, and they did just that in both the first two sets and the last one.”
Lenox’s plan was completely derailed in the third set as its 12-point lead evaporated.
But senior libero Anna Lynch said the team did not need any big pep talk from Cabe to get back into the match going to the fourth.
“It was crazy,” she said. “I’m glad that we pulled through and just stayed steady the way we know how to play.
“Go back to basics,” Lynch said of the message in the huddle. “Go back to what we learn. Ball up on the serve receive and just target where they’re not.”
Lynch and Bombee Lahart each had four aces for Lenox.
Hayden led the defense with 22 digs, and Morgan Levesque had 32 assists. Black led Lenox’s attack with 16 kills, and Lahart chipped in with eight kills.
Lenox moves on to get another shot at Berkshire County champion Lee, which advanced to the D3 semi-finals with a five-set win over Wahconah on Monday night. The Millionaires will visit the Wildcats on Wednesday evening.