Defense Keys Lee's Three-Set Win over Lenox

By Stephen Sports
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LEE, Mass. -- The Lee High volleyball team Monday jumped out to a 2-0 lead against visiting Lenox.
But the Millionaires, who came into the day with a record of 4-0, were not ready to give up just yet.
Lenox rallied with three straight points on the serve of Kirstin Miller to take an 8-6 lead in the third.
It was the kind of moment when a lot of coaches might have called timeout to regroup.
First-year Lee head coach Julia Warner had other ideas.
“That’s something that they work on as well,” Warner said of her decision to let her players figure things out for themselves. “I think that I trust them. I think we have this mutual trust and respect for each other.
“There are some times when I’m ready to call a timeout, and Suri [senior captain Suriana Lee] says, ‘No, no, one more.’ And I’ll trust her for it. It’s something that -- it’s very much a family, our team.”
Lee got a Kylie Joyce kill to break Lenox’s run. And after trading points for a few service rotations, the Wildcats got a six-point service run out of Lizzy Brown that included three aces, and they were on their way to a 25-18, 25-10, 25-18 triumph.
Brown ended up with seven aces, nine kills and 10 digs on the evening.
Libero Rachel Wendling had 23 digs to key a Lee defense that set up its attack all night.
“We have a multi-faceted offense, which is run because we have a very solid defense,” Warner said. “Our defense phenomenally tonight. They were giving our setter a beautiful high ball for our setters to work with.
“That allowed our offense of having a [left] side, a right side, and a middle -- they had many options to go with. We talked a lot in practice about mixing up your hits, and after you hit a few strong balls, either line or cross, you mix it up with an offspeed or a tip, one way or another.”
Lee and Aliyah Noell combined for 26 assists between them and each had four kills in a Wildcat attack that gave the Millionaires fits, especially in the early going.
“I think they first set, it was just us figuring out how to position ourselves based on how they were hitting,” Lenox coach Bessena Cabe said. “And I think we left out a lot of holes, especially within our block up front. So they were able to get around that a lot. They were able to tip around, hit around to the back.
“There were some nerves for the girls, I would say. It’s been a while since we’ve played Lee, and it’s always a big rivalry. So for them to be able to move and get to the ball, it was a little bit of an issue.”
Lenox got 10 kills and a pair of aces from Kayanna Black and eight digs from Mia Giadina. Maddy Bareneski was credited with 20 assists in the loss.
The Millionaires will look to get back in the win column on Wednesday at Hampden Charter.
Lee (3-1) hosts Mount Everett next Monday.
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