Wahconah seniors lead volleyball team to win over Mount Greylock

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GILLIAN JONES - THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE
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DALTON — With four years of varsity matches under her belt at Ed Ladley Gymnasium, Wahconah senior Emma Parkington may have saved her best for last.

The star outside hitter rained down terror seemingly from the Ladley rafters all night on a talented Mount Greylock squad. Her 19 kills propelled the Warriors to a 3-0 sweep and a big time Senior Night win. Following a lengthy opening ceremony, Wahconah bombarded the Mounties from all angles to win 25-20, 25-18 and 25-19.

Parkington has been an iron woman for coach Dave Lussier and again was on the court for every serve. This year she isn't alone in that status, though, as fellow senior Fran Gigliotti has helped the offense transition into a 5-1 as the team's lone setter on the floor. Gigliotti had herself a big home finale as well, doling out 25 assists and three aces.

"Senior Night and her having a lot of family here kind of fired [Parkington] up a little more," said Lussier. "They played in the youth league together. Emma was a four-year starter and Fran came into varsity last year. This year, [Gigliotti is] the main setter out there and doesn't come off the floor."

Wahconah (14-5) hit the ground running, jetting out to an 8-2 lead. However, the playoff-bound Mounties (10-8) came to play, as well. Setter Maddie Albert connected with Autumn Delorey twice and Taylor Hoffstedt once to draw even at 8-8. Hoffstedt then took over service and leveled back-to-back aces and granted Greylock its first lead. Lussier called for timeout with his team reeling, down 13-9, and got a big block from Cassie Tobler to stem the tide.

Gigliotti fed another senior in Laiken Cornwell-L'Hote (five kills) to draw back within one and then Parkington let go of back-to-back booming kills to shoot back ahead. Parkington and Gigliotti connected twice more, with an ace by senior Kelsey LaFreniere mixed in to finish out the first set win. Mount Greylock would never lead again in the match.

"When they get going on a roll like that it is hard to stop it. They have a lot more depth than we do," said Greylock first-year coach Meaghan Albert. "They never quit out there, so I'm happy with that. Things have been going well overall. We've got a great setter and some great hitters, just have to work on that first pass."

Albert's crew looked stunned after the late run by Wahconah in Set 1 and opened the second stanza down 4-0 before Caroline Hadley got them going with a pair of kills. Still, Parkington swatted another violent ball down and had two aces to go up 11-3. Lucy Shepard countered with two aces of her own for the visitors and Greylock did manage to close the gap to one, 13-12, but again the confidence and chemistry of Gigliotti and Parkington appeared and rolled off four more kills en route to a 12-6 close-out.

"It's so fun to set her when she's on like that. She's unstoppable," said Gigliotti. "She gets the whole team going and the energy is great when we're vibing like that."

Hadley and Hoffstedt continued to pound away on the Wahconah defense, but the Warriors' veteran back line was too sure-handed. Senior captain Jess Warren picked up an even 30 digs, while classmate Maddie Benlien had 14 and Parkington chipped in seven of her 19 in the third set. The Mounties got within 21-16 on a Maddie Albert ace, but LaFreniere answered with a kill and Gigliotti and Parkington put the game at match-point with one last home court assist.

"It's crazy. I remember freshman year, the seniors all telling me it was going to go by so fast, and here it is," said Parkington. "I'm really glad that that is how we ended it. We played well tonight."

Reach sports writer Mike Walsh at 413-496-6240 or @CLNS_Walsh.


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