Published in the November 18, 2015 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
TYNGSBORO — The eighth seeded volleyball team earned a hard fought 3-0 victory over fourth seed Academy of Notre Dame during the Division 3 North semifinals Nov. 10.
“I thought the girls played really hard and had a lot of heart,” said Pioneers head coach Michelle Perrone. “They had a lot of determination tonight.”
The semifinals contest between the Pioneers and Lancers was a rematch of the 2014 Division 3 North finals, which Lynnfield prevailed 3-0. History certainly repeated itself Nov. 10.
The Pioneers jumped out to an early 13-7 lead in the first set. Lynnfield kept rolling and increased its lead to 17-9 halfway through the first set, prompting the Lancers to call a time out.
Notre Dame had a brief rally in the first set and cut the locals’ lead to nine, 22-13. The Pioneers went on a 3-1 run to win the first set 25-14.
Lynnfield took a 13-6 lead in the beginning of the second set. The locals went on a 5-2 run to take a decisive 18-8 lead, prompting the Lancers to call a time out.
The Lancers started playing better halfway through the second set and went on a 7-3 run, prompting Perrone to call a time out.
“We had a critical time out to try and regroup,” said Perrone.
The Lancers continued its late rally and cut the Pioneers’ lead to four, 21-17. Lynnfield went on a 4-1 run down the stretch to pull out a 25-18 second set victory.
Perrone said the second set timeout helped the Pioneers “get the momentum back.”
Notre Dame took an early 6-2 lead during the third set, prompting the Pioneers to call a time out. Lynnfield regrouped and tied the set at eight. The Lancers responded by going on a 9-2 run and took a 17-10 lead, which prompted Perrone to call another time out.
“We just had a breakdown in communication,” said Perrone. “We had another critical time out to regroup and refocus. Afterward, we were ready to go.”
Led by senior Shannon Ryan, the Pioneers began a late game rally. The Pioneers outscored the Lancers 15-1 down the stretch to win the third set 25-18 and head to the Division 3 North finals for the sixth straight year.
“The team played very well tonight,” said Perrone.
Perrone praised Ryan’s performance against the Lancers. Ryan finished with 18 assists and five digs.
“This is the reason Shannon is Cape Ann League Player of the Year,” said Perrone. “She comes up big for us. She is All League and All State for a reason. She is a clutch player.”
Senior captain Mary Kate Deighan had a monster game for the locals, finishing with 13 kills and five digs.
“I thought this was the best match Mary Kate played this season,” said Perrone. “She was on fire. She had a fire in her belly and there was no stopping her tonight.”
Senior captain Jess Dwyer played very well against the Lancers, finishing with 14 digs.
In addition to Ryan being named CAL Player of the Year, junior Katie Nugent was named a CAL All League player and Dwyer was named a CAL All Star.
“Well deserved,” said Perrone. “Jess leads our back row. Katie is our offense and Shannon is the Tom Brady of the team.”