Wahconah Wins North in Final Game at High School
DALTON, Mass. -- In normal times, you only get to end your season with a win by missing the playoffs or winning a state championship.
No one wants to do the former. Only a select few get to do the latter.
On Saturday afternoon, the Wahconah volleyball team found a third way, closing out the Fall 2 season and closing the current Ed Ladley Gymnasium with a three-set win over Lenox to claim the Berkshire County North Division Championship.
McKenie LaBier's tip on match point ended a long rally and 25-20, 25-17, 25-22 win for second-seeded Wahconah.
"This is as far as we could go during this pandemic year," Wahconah coach Dave Lussier said. "Berkshire County is always a hard league. We've seen the team coming out of the Berkshires go to the Western Mass finals probably every year the last five years in Lee.
"It makes me feel good that we probably would have done very well in a post-season in Division 3."
Wahconah started well indeed in the first two sets, taking leads of 5-1 and 6-2 that it never relinquished.
In the Set 1, Sasha Fyfe served four straight points to get to 5-1 on a kill by Kassidy Krejmas.
Lenox pulled to within three a couple of times, but a kill by LaBier to get to 21-17 got the serve to Karley Bazonski, who served two straight points to put Wahconah on the verge of set point. LaBier recorded another kill to get the lead to 24-20, and Krejmas' tip at the net ended things one serve later.
In the second set, Hannah Friedman posted an early five-point run on serve to erase a deficit and give Wahconah a 6-2 lead.
It stayed at least a four-point advantage throughout. Friedman had another run, this time serving four straight to get the margin to 20-12 on a Krejmas tip.
Lenox coach Noelle Skowron said she did not think the Millionaires were victims of fatigue playing their fifth match of the week and less than 24 hours after an emotional upset win at top-seeded Mount Greylock.
"I don't think so," she said. "We had momentum coming in from last night. I think that would have been enough.
"It was just lack of execution. We didn't execute our game. We were playing catchup for most of the game."
Lenox did pick up a little steam at the start of the third set, opening with a four-point run on Mia Giardina's serve.
It was still a three-point lead after a Kailyn Sorrentino tip to make it 10-7.
But Wahconah earned a side out and gave the ball to Olivia Wehner, who served six straight points -- the last two aces -- to give her team a 14-10 lead.
Lenox came back to tie it with a pair of points on Maddy Barenski's serve to get to 17-17. But Bazonski put away the next point for Wahconah, and Krejmas served five straight to give her team a 23-17 lead.
Ella Smith served two in a row for Lenox to keep it in the match at 23-20, but a LaBier kill gave Wahconah match point at 24-20.
The Millionaires then fended off two match points before LaBier was able to end it.
Krejmas led Wahconah with 19 kills. Kaylee O'Bryan had 29 assists and 24 digs. Wehner had 12 digs and three aces.
"We had a game plan we were going to do, and the girls executed it perfectly," Lussier said. "Our main hitters reduced errors and were keeping the ball in play. Lenox is outstanding at continuing the play and outlasting the opponent.
"That was our goal tonight: Be patient and let our offense take over. That's what we succeeded."
The most serious trouble Wahconah faced was that early deficit in the third set, but Lussier trusted his players to figure things out and kept the timeout in his pocket. His team did not disappoint him or the Dalton community, which got to enjoy yet another champions parade in the final varsity contest to be played inside the soon-to-be-former high school.
"To end with a win on this floor, to close out a championship on this floor makes it even that much more sweet," Lussier said.