Volleyball: Serving aces is Lexi’s Forte for Athol

  • Shaelynn Doherty sets up for a dig, with Skyleigh D’Ambrosia looking on, last season. The Athol High School volleyball team beat Franklin Tech, 3-1, Wednesday in Athol.  FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/9/2019 9:37:50 PM

ATHOL — Lexi Forte has a specific strategy for serving up aces for the Athol High School volleyball team.

Hit it deep, and away from the opponent.

The plan worked for Athol in a 3-1 win over Franklin County Technical School on Wednesday in an independent match at Mallet Gymnasium.

Set scores were 26-24, 25-22, 15-25 and 25-21.  

Forte’s serve played a big part in winning the first two sets, and the setter finished with 10 aces, 13 assists and three kills on the night.

“You just got to toss the ball high, basically,” Forte said. “I can spot serve. I can pick any spot. Usually, I serve it deep into the corner and it’s hard for girls to get it. There’s a float to it too, so it’s hard to see where the ball is going.”

The Red Raiders (5-8) have little room for error in their remaining seven matches if they want a chance at the postseason.

“If we push hard enough, we can definitely go to tournament this year,” Forte said. “I really believe in us girls.”

The Eagles (5-8) just missed out on winning the first two sets, but played better in the third.

“We played more our game,” Franklin Tech coach Jade Cuevas said. “The first two sets we were playing to their level. We kind of snapped out of it, played our game. But our serves went downhill and I think we lost our energy.”

Franklin Tech put together a nice attack of the middle of the net, especially from Faith Smith who had 10 kills for the Eagles. 

Smith added five aces for Franklin Tech with Maggie Charlton adding another six kills.

The Red Raiders did not have middle hitter Lexi Carrasquillo, who missed the match with bronchitis. Without Carrasquillo’s height, the middle of the floor was left vulnerable for Athol.

“We did well,” Athol coach Nick Savoie said. “It would have been nice to have her because both of their middles were extremely tall. We just didn’t set the middle quite as much.”

Forte set the outside more for the Red Raiders, and Katelyn Mahan (six kills) and Shaelynn Doherty (five kills) picked up the attack.

Skyleigh D’Ambrosia paced the Athol defense with 10 digs.

Smith’s service set up a 13-10 lead for the Eagles in the first set. But once Forte got on the end-line, she served the Red Raiders into the lead.

Forte closed out the first set with consecutive aces. 

Once again in the second set, Forte took over at the end line. She set up with the set tied 17-17, and once she lost her serve, the Red Raiders had a 22-17 lead.

The Eagles jumped on the Red Raiders in the third set. The serves of Lilian Poirier (seven digs) and Mackenzie Martel (five digs) helped give the Eagles a 19-9 lead.

The final set went back and forth early, but a kill by Mahan gave Athol a 19-15 lead. Doherty’s service run ended the match, with the Raiders taking advantage of a hitting error by the Eagles.

Abigail Hoynoski and Renee Reed added five digs each for the Eagles.  

Emily Ryan had two blocks with three kills for Franklin Tech.

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