Mounties' 'Awesome Season' Ends in Title Game Loss
WORCESTER, Mass. – It can be easy for teams to talk about how much fun they have together and enjoy the process when things are going well.
But mere moments after the Mount Greylock volleyball team’s season ended in a three-set loss in the State Championship game, the Mounties were grinning from ear to ear.
“We are the first team to ever make it to the state finals from Berkshire County, so coming here in itself was a huge win,” senior captain Lainey Gill said as perennial power Frontier posed with the Division 5 championship trophy after a 25-13, 25-22, 25-19 win.
“We all love each other. The team has great chemistry. And we knew we were going to come here and whatever we put on the court today was going to be enough for our team. And if that wasn’t winning, then we’ll still come together as a team and say, ‘Wow, we’re proud. We just had an awesome season.'
“We put it all there. We were proud of what we’ve done. And we came in second.”
Most teams do when they play the Redhawks, who picked up their 11th state championship in the last 16 seasons.
Top-seeded Frontier came out Saturday like a house afire, perhaps trying to avoid the two-set hole it had to overcome against Paulo Freire in the state semi-finals.
Brooke Davis won six points on her serve to give Frontier an 8-1 lead.
Two sideouts later, Sydney Scanlon served eight points to push the margin to a nearly insurmountable 17-3.
“It was really just a matter of getting used to the gym, the air in the gym, the atmosphere,” Mount Greylock coach Greg Geyer said. “That took a little time. We basically played two sets.”
One of the bright spots in the set for the Mounties was Talia Kapiloff, who had two kills in the set and served a pair of aces in a three-point service run to extend the set at 18-8 and give the Mounties some life.
The second set was much more representative of the team Mount Greylock was in winning its league and the Western Massachusetts championship this fall.
Mount Greylock went toe-to-toe with the Redhawks in a set where neither led by more than three points.
The Mounties took their last lead at 19-17 But after the teams traded sideouts, Jillian Apanell served a pair of points for Frontier to establish a 22-19 lead that the Redhawks did not relinquish.
“We just started playing our game,” Geyer said. “I think probably Celina [Savage] got a lot of kills in that set. We were able to get the ball to the net.”
Savage ended up with a team-high 12 kills in the match. Kapiloff and Charlotte Coody each finished with three kills.
The Mounties continued to battle into the third set, taking an 8-4 lead on Savage’s serve.
But that was erased when Frontier senior Apanell won seven straight points on her serve to build a 13-9 lead, and the Mounties never got closer than two points the rest of the way.
“You can’t take anything away from [Frontier’s] serving,” Geyer said. “Their serving made us be out of system a lot. So we never got that first swing, which would have put them on their heels.
“That’s what this game is about. It’s kind of like field position in another sport. If you get a good pass and you get a good swing, that sets up the point. Even if you don’t score then, they’ve got to do something great to get a good swing at you. It’s a field position kind of thing.
“Their serving kept us on our heels, so we never really got to start cranking.”
Still, take away that disappointing first set, and the two sets Mount Greylock played showed just what Geyer’s team can do – and might be ready to do down the road with just two seniors, Gill and Emma Gray, graduating this spring.
“We had a great season,” Geyer said. “[Frontier coach] Sean [MacDonald] and I were talking about how, if we’re both on, how good of a game it would be.
“The year before last, we won the league, struggled in the playoff. Last year, we struggled in Western Mass. This year, we won Western Mass and went all the way to the [state] finals. So there’s a really good progression there. It’s a young team, and this is our first time, and we learned a lot. I’m very, very proud of these guys. I couldn’t be prouder.
“And I want to thank the two senior captains, Lainey Gill and Emma Gray, for this amazing season as well. We’re proud, and we’ll be back next year.”