Lynnfield Volleyball Wins Division 3 North Championship
Cape Anne League Player of the Year, Julia Goldstein and the Pioneers put a stop to Austin Prep’s Cinderella run.
Lynnfield High School girls volleyball coach Michelle Perrone said she was a little unnerved following a first set that her Pioneers dropped to the Cougars of Austin Prep 25-13. After all, Lynnfield had only lost three sets all season going into the Division 3 North Championship on Saturday at Lawrence High.
Lynnfield went on to win the next three sets, 25-16, 25-21 and 25-15 respectively to take the 3-1 victory and improve its record to 23-0.
The Cougars had solid defense around the net, and received the benefit of some close out-of-bounds calls to add to their momentum. Austin was able race out to a 4-0 lead in the first set, drawing a timeout from Perrone. The two teams traded impressive volleys but Lynnfield was not getting the elevation they needed on the spikes despite impressive setups.
Austin Prep senior, Jessica Kentworthy played strong both offensively and defensively for the cougars along the net and the Cougars jumped out to a 20-8 set lead to draw another timeout from Perrone.
Lynnfield came to life in the second set but Austin Prep stayed right with the Pioneers. Perrone called another timeout after it appeared the Cougars were going on another run and visible frustration could be seen with the Lynnfield players.
“We had to settle. We were playing a little bit too tense and not relaxed,” Perrone said. “We play much better when we’re a more relaxed team and when we worry about what happens on our side of the court and not the other side of the court. I took the timeouts because we needed that reminder.”
Lynnfield came out and traded the lead back-and-forth with the Cougars before going up 21-16 drawing the first timeout from Austin coach Louis Polan.
Elizabeth Vo and Abigail Norwood stood strong at the net and helped seal the second set for Lynnfield.
The Cougars would not go away in the third set as easily however.
“Austin prep is a very talented team and we knew we had our work cut out for us when we found out that they were going to be our opponents,” Perrone said.
The match on the whole was a stellar performance from each team. The third set was back-and-forth with constant lead changes until, after a 14-14 score, Lynnfield managed to pull away.
Lynnfield senior and Cape Anne League Player of the Year, Julia Goldstein was a strong presence throughout the match blocking huge spike attempts and icing Austin with solid hits.
“We knew, coming into this game, it wasn’t going to be easy,” Goldstein said. “We were so scared after the first set, but we’re a comeback team.”
The CAL Champion, Lynnfield had an equally tough time closing out the championship in the fourth set, finally ending the season for the Cougars (17-6), who finished third in the Catholic Central League, and their unlikely, Cinderella run at the D3 North title.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” Goldstein said after winning the title game. “It’s good to come closer and closer every year. Last year we won it, the year before we lost in the finals and to win it again this year and to be CAL champs is the best way to end your senior year.”
Perrone is in her fourth year at the helm and was able to watch the seniors grow into the 23-0 Pioneers of 2011.
“I’ve kind of watched them grow and mature not only as volleyball players, but young women and I’m very proud of their maturity and their play,” Perrone said.
Lynnfield will play Tuesday in Leominster, Mass.