No. 9 Mount Greylock volleyball team sweeps Mahar to advance in Western Mass. Division III tournament

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ORANGE — Behind a standout defensive effort that made Mahar Regional School work for every point, visiting Mount Greylock Regional High School made the long trip across Route 2 worthwhile on Thursday night.

The ninth-seeded Mounties played their best on the big points, riding the offense of Caroline Hadley (11 kills) mixed with a team defense that forced 15 hitting errors to sweep No. 8 Mahar, 25-18, 25-18, 15-13, in a Western Mass. Division III Tournament first-round match at Grzesik-Bixby Gymnasium.

"This was the first game all season where we made very, very few mistakes," offered Greylock coach Meaghan Albert of her team. "We finally decided to focus on our skills instead of worrying about the other team since we didn't know much about [Mahar]. The girls played an outstanding match."

Mahar (14-7) played from behind for just about the entire match, and the Senators were unable to get on track as a result. Maeve Powell led the way with 11 kills, but Greylock's ability to prolong points often led to miscues from the Senators, which finished with just a 0.029 hitting percentage.

"It was all mental," said Mahar coach Julianna Yetter of her team's struggles. "We got down on ourselves and that kind of took over. That third set, especially, was all mental. We fell behind and couldn't climb back."

The opening set was close for the majority of the action. Greylock (11-9) led just 19-17 after Mahar's Lauren Henne served a point, but the Mounties saved their best for last. The visitors closed on a 6-1 run, riding the serving of Taylor Hoffstedt and the offense of Hadley, who put down three kills in the final five points. That included a spike on game point to secure a 25-18 victory that set the tone.

The second set was nearly a carbon copy, with the Mounties holding an identical 19-17 lead. With Hoffstedt again serving, the team rattled off four straight points, including a pair of aces, to take a 23-17 advantage. Despite two timeouts from the Senators to try and settle the tide, Maddie Albert's ace on game point lifted Greylock to a commanding 2-0 lead thanks to another 25-18 win.

"I thought we were able to make adjustments to what (Greylock was) doing after the first set but unfortunately, we couldn't finish games off," Yetter explained.

The Mounties closed in convincing fashion in the third, turning a 10-8 lead into a commanding 20-11 advantage thanks in large part to a Lucy Shepard service run. The Senators stayed alive thanks to kills from Sophia Smith and Powell, but Hadley fittingly put things away with another kill on match point for a 25-13 win to complete the sweep.

"The girls, I think, were scared of not being able to play another match this year so they stepped it up and capitalized on (Mahar's) mistakes," Albert said.

Mahar setter Aria Flematti finished with 10 assists, while Henne, the team's libero, contributed 26 digs. Smith (12 digs) and Carissa Johnson (10 digs) also keyed a busy defensive effort.

Maddie Albert dished out 22 assists for Greylock to go with six kills and five aces. Autumn Delorey added seven kills and three blocks.

The win lifted Greylock into the Div. III quarterfinal round against top-seeded and perennial power Frontier Regional School Monday night in South Deerfield.

"We have to continue to keep our energy up," Albert said of the quarterfinal challenge. "If we play like we did tonight, we might actually have a chance (against Frontier)."

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