Photo Gallery | Taconic volleyball wins five-set match over Monument Mountain
PITTSFIELD — Five-set matches have not been kind to the Taconic volleyball team this season. Heading into Wednesday's match against Monument Mountain, the Braves lost all three of their five-set decisions. The fourth time was the charm, however, as the Braves jumped out to a lead in the fifth set and pulled out a 25-17, 22-25, 19-25, 25-16 and 15-9 win.
Roselyn Vega carried the Braves (2-5, 2-4 Berkshire South) during the final set, spiking home four of her team-high 12 kills. Monument rallied late, bringing the score to 14-9, but Janee Walker spiked home the final point, clinching the victory. The Braves were playing without setter Julia Kalinowsky and they lost middle hitter Lilly Garrity to injury in the second set, but Walker said the team did a good job coming together in their absences.
"This week has been a really tough week for me and my team," Walker said. "We lost a really important asset, and we knew that everyone on the court had to pick it up together and bring it together as a team.
"Each play we had our own little goals and we knew if we got down [in the fifth] we were never coming back. We needed this win to give our team confidence."
With the game on the line, the Braves drew on their past experiences and performed well under pressure. For Monument, a five-set match was new territory, and the Spartans' inexperience showed down the stretch.
"We didn't play real good defense today and Taconic did," Monument coach Kyle Henry said. "They put the pressure on us and when they did we didn't respond."
Henry added that the team is still trying to find its rhythm on offense. The Spartans (2-5, 2-5) faltered down the stretch, but they did a great job coming back after dropping the first set.
Megan Race's kills helped the Spartans put together a 9-2 rally in the second set. The Braves used a 6-3 run of their own to get within one, but the visitors held them off and Lyssa Richard's kills sealed the set.
The Monument cruised to an easy third-set win before Taconic used its strong serving to force a fifth set. Alyssa Morley (two), Rachel Williams (one), Jasmine Rodriguez (one), and Delaney Ivas (two) all recorded aces in the fourth. Ivas' aces were the final two points of the set. She added four kills, one block and three digs. Vega had four digs. Williams has three aces, two digs and 18 assists. Richard led Monument with two kills and eight assists. Alexa Troiano had four digs.
Taconic coach Jenn Doerle said her team is showing improvement as the season progresses. She added that experience and improved communication has paid dividends on the court.
"We knew how to dig a little deeper and find our strengths and stay together," she said. "Everybody pulled together. We're starting to talk, make our serves and play hard."
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252