Warriors drop 3-1 match in Go for Gold fundraiser at WMHS
Published in the September 27, 2016 edition.
By JIM SOUTHMAYD
WAKEFIELD — There was a lot of excitement in the Charbonneau Field House last night in the Be Bold, Go for Gold fundraiser and that carried over to the varsity girls’ volleyball game between the Wakefield Memorial High and Chelmsford High teams.
Even the non-league match between the Warriors and Lions was a thriller. But Chelmsford made the plays when it had to and handed Wakefield a 3-1 setback.
The loss came after the Warriors were blanked by Middlesex League Freedom division juggernaut Melrose last Thursday night by a 3-0 score at the Charbonneau Field House.
Wakefield is now 3-5 overall and 2-4 in the M.L. Freedom division.
As for last night, the Warriors and Lions played a back-and-forth affair. Each team went in runs during sets only to have the other team battle right back. Only in the fourth and final set did that change. With the score tied, 4-4, Chelmsford went on a 13-3 run to open up a 17-7 lead. Wakefield never recovered as the Lions went on to win the final set, 25-14, and the match, 3-1.
“Chelmsford plays in a very good conference, the Merrimack Valley Conference, and they are a solid team,” said Coach Nicole Trudeau. “They have a fine finesse game going for them. Their league has Andover in that conference and the teams in the Merrimack Valley have players that have grown up playing volleyball.”
The first set was nip-and-tuck. The score was tied at 10-10 when a couple of points were recored by junior Julia Brown (eight kills).
But the Lions answered by going on a 6-0 run including a couple of aces by Laney Rennie to open up a 17-13 lead. While Wakefield kept the set close, a couple of key plays by Sam Sturzo and a pair of kills by Abby Gardner resulted in Chelmsford taking the first set, 25-17.
Wakefield came back and won the second set by a 25-21 score to even the match at one game apiece.
The Warriors had some fine play in the set by senior Abbie Badgett (nine kills), Brown and senior Emma Butler (nine kills).
Chelmsford jumped out to a quick 3-1 lead on pair of kills by Grace Maniscalco but Wakefield answered on the fine play by Badgett and Brown. Brown had a return and then Butler had an ace to tie the set at 6-6. Butler served two aces to give Wakefield an 8-6 advantage. Wakefield stayed in front by several points until it went on a 5-1 run to take a 19-14 lead. Senior Mackenzie Story and junior Julia Purcell made a couple of nice plays to go along with a pair of kills by Butler.
But the Lions closed the gap to 20-19 before the Warriors answered with a couple of clutch plays by senior Nicole Roberto (six kills) on a return and a nice serve by Purcell. The Warriors were ahead 22-21 when Badgett took over and recorded the next three points, one of which was on a fine block in front of the net, as Wakefield evened the match at one set apiece.
“I thought we were hitting the ball too hard in the first,” said Trudeau. “In the second set, we answered that well and made better shots.”
In the third set, Chelmsford ran off five straight points. While the Warriors were able to answer and keep the set close, the Lions maintained the lead the entire way. The score was 17-13 when Chelmsford went on a 6-1 run to open up a 23-14 lead. The Lions went on to win the set, 25-16.
Chelmsford came out strong in the final set as Maniscalco recorded three straight points before Story made a nice return for the point. Wakefield tied the set, 4-4 but Chelmsford answered with three straight points. The Lions had a 10-6 lead when they went on a 7-1 run to take a 17-7 advantage.
Once the Lions could almost taste victory, they ran up more points and took a 22-11 lead. Wakefield trailed 23-14 when Chelmsford rang off two more points on a return by Gardner and a block by Lila Boyd to end the contest.
“Chelmsford has natural movement to the ball and we were missing by half a step,” said Trudeau.
Trudeau did compliment the play of Marissa Patti, a junior, who stepped in and did a nice job off the bench.
In the Melrose match, Wakefield lost in straight sets, 25-13, 25-11 and 25-10.
Melrose’s Saorice Connolly, Lydia Lombardo and Lily Fitzgerald had eight kills apiece, while Fitzgerald also had 18 assists.
“Against Melrose, we never got started,” said Trudeau. “We couldn’t connect. We had mishits and made mental errors. Melrose was down with a couple of their middle hitters out. They’re always strong. We can’t afford to have bad matches against a seasoned team.”
Wakefield faces Burlington tonight at 5:15 p.m. at Burlington High School.
The Warriors once again hosted the Be Bold, Go Gold fundraiser to raise money for a good cause, Childhood Cancer research.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. All money raised last night will go to the Ronan Thompson Foundation, in memory of RockStar Ronan, and all of those who are currently fighting pediatric cancer, the survivors and those who we have lost.
There were raffles for prizes last night. This charity is dear to Warrior Head Coach Nicole Trudeau. The Ronan Thompson Foundation has challenged people to Be Bold, Go Gold, which is what the Warriors were doing at the match last night.
Childhood Cancer research is consistently underfunded. There is over $5 billion in government money that is allocated to fund cancer research — yet less than 4 percent is dedicated to childhood cancer research each year. In the last 20 years, only two drugs have been FDA approved for children’s cancers, whereas 23 are approved in one year for adult cancers.
Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States. The average age of diagnosis is 6 and one in five children diagnosed with cancer will die within five years.
Twelve percent of children diagnosed with cancer do not survive, 74 percent of childhood cancer survivors have chronic illnesses and up to 40 percent of “survivors” will eventually die from the treatments. Radiation to a child’s brain can significantly damage cognitive function or if radiation is given at a very young age, the damage can limit the ability to read, do basic math, tell time or even talk.
One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the foundation at theronanthompsonfoundation.com/about/ronan.
Wakefield has raised close to $1,000 over the past couple of years and hopes to surpass last year’s total when the final tally is in.