Lee Cruises into Regional Semi-Finals

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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LEE, Mass. -- The Lee volleyball team Tuesday trailed just once, at 2-1 in the first set, en route to an efficient three-set win over Athol in the quarter-finals of the Class D Western Massachusetts volleyball tournament.
Liz Brown notched 11 kills to go with two aces and three digs in the 25-14, 25-12, 25-11 victory that sends the Wildcats to Thursday’s semi-finals against fourth-seeded Ware, a three-set winner over Lenox on Tuesday.
“There are certainly some things that we need to still clean up,” Lee coach Julia Warner said. “I always like to say, ‘We get back in the gym tomorrow,’ and there we have things that we have to work on.
“But it was a really good show of bringing offensive pressure and converting free balls or converting their serve into our offense.”
Maddy LaRock had five kills, three digs and served an ace, and Makayla Schuerer passed out 21 assists while serving five aces.
The Wildcats used a three-point run on Brown’s serve to take control early in the first set to get to 8-4. They methodically built a seven-point lead until ninth-grader Annie Herman served three straight to get to 23-13.
After the Bears earned a sideout, back-to-back kills by Brown and Kylie Joyce put away the set.
In the second, Schuerer served three straight -- including a pair of aces -- to give Lee a 14-5 lead. A rotation later, Joyce served three straight, using an ace to push the lead to 18-6. Herman had a three-point run on her serve late in the set to get to set point at 24-10.
In the third, Schuerer erased all hope for an Athol comeback with a five-point run that included a couple of aces and a kill by LaRock to make it 18-6.
Lee advanced to the region’s final four without senior libero Rachel Wendling, who Warner expects to be back for Thursday’s home semi-final.
“We had a few freshmen who stepped up, which was really a great show for our team to be able to come together and fill a really big gap that might have been left,” Warner said. “That’s really promising.”
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