PITTSFIELD -- Taconic volleyball coach Jennifer Doerle said her team is counting down the days until the Western Mass. tournament.
After last Monday's win over previously unbeaten Lee and their win against Monument Mountain on Wednesday, the Braves seem to be hitting their stride at the right time.
Wednesday, the Taconic volleyball team picked up its eighth win of the season dropping Monument in three sets, 25-10, 25-23, 25-12.
The Braves looked playoff-ready against the Spartans, coming out strong in the first set. Monument responded in the second set, but could not make enough plays to stay in the game. Taconic's serving made it difficult for Monument to string together passes.
Angela O'Neil's two aces illustrated that in the first set for the Braves. Monument jumped out to a 7-4 lead early in the second set, but the Braves rallied and took a 15-12 lead of their own.
Monument would not let Taconic's lead grow larger than three points, though, and the Spartans managed to tie the score at 23. Taconic regained the lead after a Monument service error, then Kirsten McNeice fired home the set-winning point for a 25-23 Taconic win, giving the Braves a 2-0 lead.
"I was very pleased with that set. For the most part during that set we stayed in it, stayed focused and played with a lot of energy," Monument coach Mike Troiano said. "When we do that, we have the ability to play with anyone in the county."
Troiano added that his team must translate the same intensity they showed during the second set to practice in order to be successful.
Monument hung around during the third set as well, trailing 13-9 midway through. Taconic, however, was too strong. The Braves rattled off seven straight points aided by two McNeice aces, leading to a final-set victory.
Haley Hubbard led Taconic with six kills and two aces, while Nyanna Slaughter had seven kills and Alyssa Doerle added five kills. After the win, Slaughter said the Braves must still work on their passing and intensity before the postseason.
Caitlyn Osak had three aces and four kills, while Emily Barbeau added four assists and three digs for Monument.
The Taconic coach said she knows what her team must improve heading into Western Mass.
"I'd like to see my passers get it more to the center so we can really smack it down hard," she said.
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