PITTSFIELD -- The Berkshire County volleyball season is still in its infancy, but one thing is already certain: Lee High School is going to be tough to beat.
The Wildcats ceded the first set to Pittsfield High School, but came back to win the next three to improve to 5-0 overall on Tuesday night. The scores were 18-25, 25-13, 25-16 and 25-19. Pittsfield, which has had a challenging early schedule, fell to 2-2. But the loss still buoyed PHS co-captain Megan Bodnar.
"We played well tonight," she said. "For most of the night, we played with confidence. Lee beat us, but if we keep playing this well, we're going to be OK."
"In the first set, they were serving short, and we had trouble getting to it," said Lee coach John Warner, explaining how the Wildcats came back. "We adjusted, and after that, they really had no answers for our net game."
True. Lee's tallest player, Katie Morin, had a strong game with 24 kills, four aces, five blocks and 11 assists. Teammate Lauren Richardson added seven kills, seven aces and 18 assists, many of them to Morin. Jessica Zerbato added five digs.
For the Generals, Tiffany Robinson had 15 assists and four aces, while Karissa Kozlowski had three kills, four blocks and three digs and Sarah Koldys added six digs.
The first set was a seesaw battle for its entire length. The Generals took slim two- and three-point leads several times, only to see Lee battle back. If there was a turning point, it was when Sienna Carpenter served two consecutive aces and another service point to turn a 20-18 contest into a 23-18 set. The Generals scored the final two points for a 1-0 lead.
Lee responded in the second set by taking a big lead. Courtney Picard served eight consecutive service points, as part of a 10-1 run to open the contest. Many of these were points scored by Morin, Vanessa Castillo and Zerbato. Pittsfield never got closer than seven points after that.
The third contest was similar to the opener. The two teams played within a few points of each other, with first Lee, than Pittsfield, taking small leads. Jasmine Chapman served three consecutive service points, which included a pair of aces, and PHS took a three-point lead, 14-11.
But the Wildcats showed exceptional poise, continuing to return their opponents' serves, and getting the ball to Morin and Richardson for points. A six-point chain returned the lead to the visitors and Lee eventually won going away, 25-16.
The last game seemed, initially, to be a mirror of the second. Richardson started the contest with an ace and another service point, and Lee took a 5-0 lead that eventually ballooned to 17-5.
But the Generals showed the poise of which Bodnar was so proud. Chapman, Jade Coty and Bodnar led a rally that saw the home side score six consecutive points. After a big Richardson spike for Lee pushed the lead to 18-11, Robinson led another Pittsfield charge which included her serving a pair of aces to cut the margin to 23-19.
Robinson drilled a serve into the deep left corner of the court that was out by an eyelash, and Lee was able to hold on, 25-19
To reach Derek Gentile:
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile