Wildcats eliminate host Turners Falls, 3-2
TURNERS FALLS — A sudden shift in momentum can change the course of any athletic contest. In this case, it spelled the end of the championship hopes of the Turners Falls High School volleyball team.
Lee High School dropped the first two sets to the Indians before roaring back to win the next three and eliminating Turners, 23-25, 21-25, 25-19, 25-13, 15-9, from the postseason in the quarterfinals of the Western Massachusetts Division III Volleyball Tournament Monday night at Turners Falls High School.
Lee came out strong in Game 1, opening a 5-1 early lead largely due to the strong net play of Wildcat captain Katie Morin, freshman Shenna Tyler and junior Alyssa Kelly. The Indians came back and took the lead back in part because of some strong serves from Sam Currier, who ended up finishing the game with nine aces, five of which came on a run that gave Turners the lead back, triggering a momentum shift which allowed the Indians to take the first set.
The second set was a nip-and-tuck affair, with both teams battling through a series of extended volleys featuring a number of solid individual efforts, including the play that ended the game, a reverse volley by Turners junior Mackenzie Salls which landed just inside the Lee baseline to win the second set.
The Wildcats, facing elimination, came out storming in third set, opening up an early lead they did not relinquish. The game ended on a spike from Kelly.
The game-changing momentum shift took place in the fourth set when, at 13-all, Lee went on a massive run, scoring 12 unanswered points to take the set. The Wildcats did not trail the rest of the way, taking an early lead in the final set and eventually posting the 15-9 victory and a date with top-seeded Frontier Regional School in the semifinals.
Turners coach Kelly Yankowski said, while the Wildcat run was a factor, her team’s implosion was more mental than physical.
“I think we took it for granted,” Yankowski said. “I think we figured that we won the first two games and we were just going to win the third, and Lee just fought harder than we did.”
“We had some good individual performances, but it takes an entire team to win, and we didn’t really play as a team.”
Shelby Lewis finished with 16 kills, five digs, two blocks and one ace. Salls finished with 16 assists, and she and Currier each had eight digs for the fourth-seeded Indians (13-8).