Published in the November 8, 2017 edition

SENIOR CO-CAPTAIN Emory Caswell (19) blocks a Swampscott shot in the second set during Lynnfield’s first round victory. (Dan Pawlowski Photo)


LYNNFIELD — The LHS volleyball team left no doubts in their Division 2 North first round home matchup against Swampscott on Thursday, as they won 3-0.

The 5th-seeded Pioneers traveled to Danvers on Tuesday night after press time to meet the Falcons in the quarterfinals. (Details next week.) Because number 16 Weston upset the top-ranked East Boston Jets in the first round, a win against Danvers means the Pioneers would host the semifinals against the winner of Weston vs. Burlington. That semifinal game would take place on Thursday, November 9.

Lynnfield jumped all over Swampscott in the first set, as the the serving game for the Pioneers allowed them to take complete control.

Sophomore Melissa Morelli dealt the first ace, giving the Pioneers a 3-0 lead. Senior Ali McPherson’s ace made it 11-3, and sophomore Samantha Lebruska’s ace made it 13-4 and forced the Big Blue to call a timeout.

Lebruska followed up the break with another ace, which proved that even a stoppage in play wouldn’t slow down the Pioneers in this set, as they went on to win it 25-9.

“That’s what we’ve done all season,” said Lynnfield head coach Michelle Perrone. “We came out strong in the first set, knew what our strategy was and executed well.”

The second set was more competitive as Swampscott hung with the Pioneers, casting a feeling of uneasiness for the home team. Morelli stepped up by blocking a shot to give Lynnfield a 13-8 lead, and followed that up later in the set with an ace to put the Pioneers back in the driver’s seat.

“Melissa has always come up big for us,” said Perrone. “She’s only a sophomore but she plays like she’s been doing this forever. She’s definitely one of our go-to players when we need something.”

During the third set, Swampscott played Lynnfield tough again, and capitalized on a couple of Pioneer errors to cut the lead to 12-9. It was never close enough for Perrone to call a timeout, but there was certainly room for improvement.

“Sometimes we fall asleep in the second and third sets but we always fight back. I’m proud of that,” said Perrone.

The Pioneers did fight back, led by kills from seniors Emory Caswell and Maxine Boyle, as well as one more convincing spike from Morelli. Lynnfield eventually ended it with a score of 25-16.

It was a complete team effort with excellent play in all facets, but the serving game on both sides of the ball is what shined the most.

“Our serving in the first set and second set was really good,” said Perrone. “We had a little bit of a breakdown in the third set, but our serving and our serve receiving were really solid today.”

Now, the Pioneers get ready for Danvers in a tough environment. The 4th-seeded Falcons are coming off a 3-0 victory over Bishop Fenwick in the first round.

While Lynnfield and Perrone are familiar with most of the teams they might face in the Division 2 tournament, it certainly feels good to pick up their first win in their new division.

“We know what to expect, but it’s nice to get the first Division 2 win under our belts.”