Published in the October 14, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield High volleyball team knew their matchup with 12-0 Winchester would be their biggest challenge of the season.

The Warriors, coming off a tough three-match run in which they fell to Burlington, Woburn and Belmont, dropped three sets against Winchester, but that wasn’t nearly the whole story.

Wakefield proved that they could compete in the first set, at one point trailing 16-13 before the visitors took over and went on a 9-0 run.

Warrior captains Maddie Melanson and Katie Pearl kept the team in the set early with a couple of strong kills.

Wakefield served extremely well all match. An Abbie Coughlin ace tied it up at 8-8 and Clara Butler’s second ace of the set gave the Warriors a 10-9 lead.

Winchester’s run to close out the first carried over to the second set as they rolled to a 20-5 lead.

Rather than go through the motions, the Warriors chose to fight back, as they outscored Winchester 15-5 before the visitors finally ended the furious comeback attempt by winning the second set 25-20.

A Melanson kill and another Butler ace accounted for their last two points of the set. Wakefield went on a 10-0 run at one point, holding Winchester at 24 for far longer than the Middlesex League’s best team would have liked.

The Warriors, buoyed by their strong finish in the second set, combined with a loud Red Sea growing by the minute, gave Winchester everything they could handle in the third.

Clara Butler set the tone early, serving three aces to help the Warriors take a 4-0 lead. The junior setter later picked up a kill and a Pearl spike made it 6-3.

Sophomore Kelsey Manchester had a terrific set for the Warriors as the talented hitter accounted for three kills and an ace. Her ace gave Wakefield a 7-3 lead. Another Pearl kill made it 10-6 and another Coughlin kill made it 11-7.

Manchester had back-to-back kills on two strong swings from the outside for Wakefield’s 12th and 13th points.

Butler later had back-to-back aces as the Warriors reclaimed the lead 15-14.

Another Manchester kill made it 16-14 and sophomore Mia Desruisseaux had a strong finish to make it 18-16.

Although Winchester would come back and finish the set on a 9-5 run to win it 25-23, Wakefield treated the home fans to an exciting match against the best team on their schedule.

The Warriors built on that performance by beating Peabody 3-0 on Friday. A full story will appear at a later date.

Wakefield (4-9) will have two key league matchups this week as they host Watertown tomorrow at 5 p.m. and travel to Wilmington on Thursday.