Mount Greylock Volleyball Moves on to Semis

By Stephen Sports
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MONTAGUE, Mass. -- Score a little win for the MIAA volleyball seeding committee.


Score a big win for the Mount Greylock girls volleyball team.


In a Western Massachusetts Division 3 quarter-final as tight as the seedings predicted, the fifth-seeded Mounties earned a dramatic five-set win over fourth-seeded Turners Falls on Monday evening.


Mount Greylock senior Josie Verter served up an ace on the second match point opportunity of the night to give the Mounties a 25-23, 16-25, 25-18, 20-24, 16-14 win and a place in Wednesday’s semi-finals against top-seeded Frontier (19-1).


The other semi-final will pit No. 3 Lee (19-1) against second-seeded Athol (17-3). All three of the other semi-finals on Monday were decided in three sets.


Nothing came easily at Turners Falls.


After the hosts bounced back to tie the match at 1-1 and 2-2, the Mounties managed to find enough in the tank to put away the match.


Verter said that Mount Greylock’s experience with high-pressure situations played a role in its performance in the final set on Monday.


“We just had a lot of spirit -- high energy, that was definitely a big part of it,” Verter said. “We’ve come back from this before in Western Mass. This happened against Mahar, and somehow it did again. It’s just great.”


Jenna Benzinger and Hope Willis recorded 19 and 12 kills, respectively, as Mount Greylock (13-6) asserted itself at the net all night.


Although there was not much to separate the two teams most of the night, the Mounties did have a penchant for coming up with the big hit at the net when they needed it.


“They did come up big tonight,” Mount Greylock coach John Albano said. “Hope and Jenna really did a great job.


“We’ve been working on it all year, and I’d say the last three matches, they really started to hit the ball hard and not being afraid of making a mistake.”


The Mounties took control of a back-and-forth first set with three points on Serena Chow’s serve to take a 23-21 lead. Benzinger had a kill, and Chow recorded a couple of service winners to get Mount Greylock within two points of the set.


After Turners regained the serve, Benzinger recorded another kill to get to game point, and two points later, a service fault gave the set to the visitors.


Turners responded with a nine-point win in Set 2. The key sequence was a five-point run on serve by Jordyn Fiske to open up a 15-7 lead.


In Set 3, it was an eight-point run on the serve of Hailey Guest (five aces) that gave Mount Greylock an eight-point margin at 15-8. Turners Falls got as close as 20-17, but Willis had two kills down the stretch to secure the win.


Turners rallied in the fourth set, overcoming an early 7-4 deficit and taking a four-point win to send the match to a deciding fifth set.


The hosts went up 10-6, but Chow came up with a five-point run on serve that featured two kills and a block by Benzinger and a kill by Verter.


The teams then went back and forth until Benzinger’s dink got Mount Greylock the serve at 15-14, and Verter came up with a serve that Turners could not handle.


“That was so stressful,” she said. “But our team was just super-positive, and that just kept us going.”

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