PITTSFIELD -- Taconic volleyball coach Jennifer Doerle said her players were tired of losing to Pittsfield.
"[It's intense] every time we're together. Usually PHS wins on us, but this time we were ready for them," Doerle said.
On their home court with a lively group of fans cheering them on, the Braves avenged a five-set loss to the rival Generals from earlier in the season, sweeping PHS 25-16, 25-23 and 25-15.
The second set swayed the momentum of the match in the favor of Taconic. The set was back and forth throughout, with eight ties and four lead changes.
Taconic looked to be in position to put the set away with set point and a four-point cushion. But three straight points from Pittsfield, including back-to-back kills from Sienna Carpenter, brought the Generals within one.
A PHS service error, though, gave Taconic a 25-23 victory.
Pittsfield coach Brian Lawton said he always expects a good crowd when the teams get together, but added the noise did not have an effect on his team.
"It's always a lot of fun. We always get good crowd like this, always a good atmosphere," Lawton said. "I think we were a little rusty when we first started and got off to a slow start. Seemed like each game their first server [was] really good and put some pressure on us."
In the third set, Pittsfield rallied from seven points down to tie the game at 13. After a Taconic timeout, though, the Braves went a 12-2 run to clinch the match victory.
Nyanna Slaughter led the Braves with 10 kills and a block. Haley Hubbard had four kills and two aces; Alyssa Doerle added four kills; and Kirsten McNeice added five aces.
Sam DeCarlo led Pittsfield with 12 assists; Paige Hamilton added seven kills and three blocks; and Carpenter had four kills and four digs.
Doerle said when her team qualified for Western Mass., there was a sense of relief from her squad. Slaughter said that, with the team picking up its 11th win of the season against a rival, this victory could add fuel that could propel the Braves to a deep playoff run.
"[PHS-Taconic has] been the biggest rivalry since forever," Slaughter said. "The feeling for our team is so amazing. We wanted to beat PHS for so long and it finally happened in three [sets], not five. So it's definitely a big confidence [boost] for our team and will bring up our ranking for Western Mass."
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