LEE — The Lee High Wildcats swept past Athol and into the Western Massachusetts Division III semifinals later this week with a convincing win over the Red Raiders in Monday's quarterfinal action.
Second-seeded Lee beat seventh-seeded Athol in straight sets 25-9, 25-15, 25-7 and in doing so avenged last year's lost to the Red Raiders in the semifinals.
The Wildcats next host Mount Greylock, possibly Thursday night, as the Mounties also swept their quarterfinal match against Turners Falls on Monday.
Lee coach John Warner looks forward to a second consecutive home tournament match.
"It's a huge advantage being at home and not on a long bus ride," he said. "I believe eight of our last nine [regular season] matches were on the road."
Lee's victory also saw junior Kendra Williams record her 1,000th career assist midway through the second set, becoming the first Wildcat volleyball player to reach that statistical plateau.
Williams enjoys setting up her teammates for the score.
"It's important to help the team out as it's all about our system," she said. "If I do well, they do well."
Williams finished the match with 16 assists to go with three kills and one dig.
The Wildcats opened strong with a power service game led by Williams, Angelique Nejaime and Haleigh Richardson that included a 9-0 run halfway through the first set.
Meanwhile, Athol could only muster two points off their serve in the opening frame, a scenario they repeated in the final set.
"We came in knowing we had to play a really good match and we didn't," said Red Raiders Coach Amber Parker. "My girls have a lot to be proud of, I just wish we could have given them a better match."
Athol had no answer for Lee's service game, evident in the second set as the Wildcats broke open a 13-13 tie with eight straight points off Richardson's serve.
"We put a lot of weight on our serve," Williams said.
"Our serve is our strongest part of our game," Warner added. "We go 5-6 deep with strong servers."
Senior Courtney Picard served three aces to go with her seven kills, two assists and one dig. Freshman Anna Wang played well defensively with six digs.
For Athol, junior Hope Parker had three kills and three digs, Shelby Roussel contributed one ace and five digs and Tatyanna Carrasquillo had one kill.