Boys' Volleyball Drops Tournament Rematch
The Flyers lost 3-0 to host Lincoln-Sudbury in the semifinals of the Division 1 Central bracket.
Lincoln-Sudbury proved a different group of Warriors for Framingham boys' volleyball on Thursday.
Two months after defeating L-S, 3-2, to open the season, the No. 3 Flyers dropped a 3-0 elimination loss to the No. 2 Warriors in semifinals of the MIAA Division 1 Central Tournament.
“Every single game we were down by five and we would crawl back in, but we just could not start off well,” said Framingham coach Emily Viti. “Obviously it is exhausting to have to crawl back every single time. L-S is way too good to come back on”
L-S, who only trailed for a volley, won the three sets 25-22, 25-20, 25-16, respectively.
The Warriors (18-1) were lead with a dominating performance by seven-foot senior John Swords who had a game high 17 kills. While the senior had played in the previous match, he was recovery from a rolled ankle suffered in a preseason charity basketball game.
“I do not think that there is a team in the state that has a player like that,” said Viti. “If you took (Swords) out of the game it would be a much different match. He is hard to read, hard to time and hard to adjust to because we have not seen anything like that.”
In all three sets, the Warriors managed to force a margin of at least six by the time they reached the high teens. In all but the third, L-S was outscored by the Flyers (17-3) to finish.
L-S had leads of 18-12, 19-9 and 19-12, respectively.
“I thought there were some areas where we let down a little bit and some unforced errors that were unusual,” said L-S coach Elizabeth McClung. “We opened the door for them a little bit and with a team like Framingham you have to be careful about that.”
Up 10-7 in the final set, an along the sidelines kill from senior Victor Mohlin began a three point run for the warriors. Two volleys later Swords ripped an overhand strike over the heads of the blockers and into the back gap to put L-S up 13-7.
“Usually we play our defense further back, because most hitters at this level hit a deeper ball,” said Viti. “Because of his height he just hits straight down. It is hard to pull up and feel OK leaving that deep wide area open.”
Maintaining the six point margin in the final set, L-S avoided a points collapse similar to what they had faced in the previous two sets. An on-the-net block from Swords and teammate senior Thomas Hannigan put the score at 24-16.
Setting up along the post, Swords finished an overhand kill to the opposite sideline to advance the Warriors.
“Swords was really hungry and composed out their,” said McClung. “He means (a lot) to this team as far as confidence and determination on the court.”
With a slim 10-8 lead to start the first set, L-S gradually increased their margin. A tip, off the defenders hands from Mohlin, gave L-S an 18-12 lead.
Outscoring the Warriors eight to seven to finish the set, a block on Swords from Framingham teammates senior Sufyan Abdul-Aziz and sophomore Atila Santos put the Flyers down 22-20.
“This is a lot faster pace game, but it is not faster than where we like to play,” said Viti. “This is the pace we try to set for other teams and sometimes it is hard to get the other teams to go that way.”
A overhand kill off the chest of the blocker by senior Chi Yin Li kept Framingham within two at 24-22. However, an along the sidelines shot by Framingham senior Andre Arms Fernandes fell just outside the line for a first set loss.
“We have been working hard to try to speed up our offense and make it a little more sophisticated,” said McClung. “We wanted to make it harder for blockers to know where the ball is going.”
A six point run, aided by three aces from senior Thomas Houpt, helped L-S maintain momentum in the second set and go up 12-5.
Eventually down 21-12, an ace from junior Jesse Wing and an on-the-line kill from Fernandez helped Framingham score five straight to pull within three.
“Sometimes I think we play a lot better when we are crawling back up,” said Viti. “When we are just playing even it is like we need something to force us to do better and that has been a struggle for us all season.”
Unable to even the score, a tip from Swords rolled off the defenders hands and into the bench to bring the score to 24-20. With the jumper late on a set, defender Houpt reached over the net in the next volley to score a set winning tip.
“Even when things did not go our way we were able to turn it around fairly quickly,” said Swords. “We went to scout them against Wachusett so we studied what their timing was, where they liked to hit it and what their tendencies were in the past.”
Houpt and Mohlin both had nine kills for L-S, while Fernandes had a team high seven for Framingham.