Raider spikers open with lackluster victory

Athol High School is moving on, but their coach was far from impressed with how they won.

The sixth-seeded Red Raiders struggled early and actually lost a set to a far inferior Springfield School of Science & Technology squad, then managed to pull out a 25-20, 24-26, 26-24, 25-19 victory in the first round of the Western Masssachsuetts Volleyball Tournament Thursday afternoon at Mallet Gymnasium in Athol.

“(This was) not a very good win for us today, but a win is a win,” said veteran Athol head coach Donna Lajoie. “We were never able to get anything going. We were playing in slow motion. I was not impressed.

“We have a lot to work on over the weekend before we even get to think about competing with a team,” added Lajoie. “But again, a win is a win. Enjoy the moment and get ready for Tuesday.”

Athol (15-5) had dominated the 11th-seeded CyberCats in three sets during their regular-season meeting, but the Raiders were anything but dominant in this one, as the final scores clearly indicate. However, they were able to do enough to advance to a quarterfinals matchup on Tuesday night at 6:30 at No. 3 seed West Springfield High School (14-4).

Wyatt Doiron-LaRue was one of the bright spots at the net, as he recorded 15 kills and 8 blocks. Tyler Lajoie dished out 28 assists to go with 7 kills and a block, Beau Guimond and Erik Aikey both added 11 kills, while Lorenzo Carra totaled 19 assists and Carter Amadon pitched in with 7 kills and 3 blocks. Nelson Leadbetter led the defense with 35 digs.

Abi Cruz led the CyberCats (10-11) with 20 kills, and Pablo Crispin registered 35 assists.

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