ELLA GIZMUNT had 16 kills, 14 digs and five service aces during Lynnfield’s state semifinal matchup against Medway. (File Photo)
By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
WOBURN — The Lynnfield High volleyball team came just two wins short of capturing the Division 4 state title as they lost, 3-2, to Medway in the Div. 4 state semifinals at Woburn High School back on Nov. 17.
With the defeat, the 2nd-seeded Pioneers ended the 2021 campaign at 19-5. The 3rd-seeded Mustangs, meanwhile, ended up losing to Ipswich, 3-0, in the state championship match on Nov. 20 at Tewksbury High to end the year at 19-4.
Top-seeded Ipswich (22-1) won the Cape Ann League title and beat the Pioneers twice in the regular season.
Lynnfield won the first set, 26-24 but the Mustangs won the next two sets, 25-16 and 25-17. The Pioneers evened the match at two winning set four 25-22 but the Mustangs took the rubber set 15-8.
“They had a long ride and we were able to take advantage of that in the first set,” explained Pioneers head coach Brent Ashley, as the Mustangs had 16 unforced errors. “They have a senior-laden team with tall starters and got settled in the second set.”
In set one, it was nip-and-tuck the entire way as the biggest lead for either team was two. Lynnfield closed the match when Mustang Amy Johnson (11 kills) had a long hit past the baseline.
Lynnfield led 7-3 early in the second set causing Medway head coach Gary Patch to call time out. The Mustangs then went on a 6-0 run later in the set to lead 17-12 as they had trouble with the serving of Johnson. They then outscored the Pioneers 8-4 to capture the set.
“Johnson is a fantastic server whose serve drops off,” said Ashley about the senior outside hitter.
Set three was tight until a late, 8-3, run gave Medway the lead.
In the fourth set, the Pioneers raced out to a 14-7 lead. The Mustangs rallied and cut the lead to 24-22 before the Pioneers won the set.
“We went from a 6-2 look to a 5-1 adding a second defensive specialist,” said Ashley, about the adjustment the team made.
The key juncture of the final set took place when the Mustangs went on a 5-1 run with the score being 8-6 at that point. Maggie Regan (team high 22 kills) ended the match with a kill causing a huge celebration by the Mustangs and their fans that traveled.
Junior outside hitter, Ella Gizmunt, led the Pioneers with 16 kills, 14 digs and five service aces. Fellow junior, Grace Davie, had 10 kills, five digs and five service aces.