'Late-Blooming' Lenox Knocks Off Mount Greylock in North Division Semi-Finals

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Lenox volleyball team saved its best for almost last.
The Millionaires earned a four-set win at top-seeded Mount Greylock on Friday night to earn a berth in Saturday's Berkshire County North Division title game at Wahconah.
Six nights after falling to the Mounties in straight sets, Lenox won three straight of its own to take a 22-25, 25-21, 26-24, 25-18 win.
"It's what we've been working for all season, honestly," Lenox coach Noelle Skowron said. "That's what we worked to execute all season, and we've come up short all season. Tonight, it literally all clicked.
"Everything fell into place: mindsets, movement, positions, everything that we've drilled, everything that we've practiced as a unit all year. You're seeing it finally come together like I knew it would.
"We're late bloomers."
Mia Giardina led Lenox with 13 kills, and Maddy Barenski passed out 28 assists.
Ella Smith dug up 29 digs for a Lenox defense that was the biggest difference in the match, denying Mount Greylock time and time again on swings that produced kills throughout the season.
"Ella had an awesome, awesome night," Skowron said. "She really stepped up in the back row. We made a couple of positional tweaks for her, and that was the game changer, just a couple of positional cues.
"These girls are great with us. We give them cues, and they execute it. They throw all their trust with us, and that's how you can tell, by what Ella did tonight. She trusted us and trusted what we were trying to do, and she rose to the occasion. It was a game-changer, 100 percent."
Mount Greylock took control of the first set with a three-point run on the serve of Lainey Gill that featured kills by Jacqueline Brennan and Takeira Darrow to get the score to 18-14.
The Millionaires got back within two points on Hailey Ano's serve, but a Celina Savage tip gave the Mounties a side out and set point at 24-21. Mount Greylock took the set two points later.
"We just kind of kept our energy up and had fun on the sidelines," Barenski said of Lenox's attitude with a 1-0 deficit in the match. "We really just brought each other up and didn't focus on our errors but focused on the next play."
Set 2 went back and forth with neither side leading by more than three points. It was 21-21 when Giardina went to the service line.
She then served four straight points to close out the set, notching an ace and getting a kill from Smith along the way. Barenski put away the set with a tip that found a hole in the Mounties' defense.
The third set was even closer with neither team able to gain much momentum.
Kailyn Sorrentino served three straight points late to give the Millionaires a 23-20 lead, but a kill by Darrow got the serve back for the the Mounties, who tied it at 23-23. Lenox earned a side out and the teams traded points until Smith's tip gave her team a point on Ano's serve to take the set and a 2-1 lead in the match for the Millionaires.
In the third set, Lenox opened up some breathing room with three straight points -- two on Giardina kills -- to take a 14-8 lead.
Mount Greylock got within two a couple of times, but Smith served three straight in a run that ended with a Camryn O'Dell block to make it 20-15, a hole the Mounties could not climb out of.
Savage had 13 kills and Darrow had 10 for Mount Greylock, which got five aces from Hayward and 30 assists from Charlotte Coody.
Mount Greylock finishes the season 13-2.
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