SHEFFIELD — In each of the first two sets, Mount Everett worked itself to a 12-6 lead. Halfway to victory, though, the Eagles couldn’t finish.
Lenox came back to win both the first and second set, utilizing a late service run both times to take command of an eventual 3-1 win Wednesday night on the road.
The Millionaires won the match 25-19, 25-20, 24-26 and 25-11.
Photos: Mount Everett vs. Lenox Volleyball
On Wednesday in Sheffield, Lenox volleyball defeated Mount Everett 3-1.
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It took some work, nail-biting and gray hairs to get there, though.
Mount Everett scored the first two points of the opening set, and Lenox — playing without senior captain Mia Giardina — didn’t get a lead until going in front 18-17 following three straight points. Hailey Ano blocked two hits for points, and then Kelly Nicotra set up Camryn O’Dell for back-to-back kills to grant the Millionaire their first advantage.
“Camryn, she’s another of our seniors, and she really filled Mia’s spot tonight,” said Lenox captain Danielle Miller. “She’s usually a middle, but took that outside today and really played all the way around. So that was really lovely. She did a great job.”
Kelly Krom picked up a block to get the Eagles even, but another Ano point delivered service to herself and she took it from there. The Lenox captain served the next five points in succession, without Mount Everett returning a single ball. She had three aces in the run. Krom got the Eagles to 19, but Nicotra connected with Kelsey Kirchner for the set-point kill.
The story was the same in Set 2, with the Eagles leading 12-6 as Krom was the recipient of a handful of sets from Caroline Haiss. But Lenox revved it back up with a Nicotra assist and an ace to force a timeout by Mount Everett coach Parker Snyder.
“It seemed like 18 was our unlucky number tonight. Every set we were up and then they would tie us around 18 and we just lost it,” said Snyder. “They just need to finish strong. They need to fight. I don’t know if they just got in their heads, but every time those last few points we couldn’t finish strong.”
The Eagles held on to lead 16-11, with a huge dig by Kaila Martel bolstering the run, but Lenox came roaring back once more. Krom put the Eagles up 18-16, but Miller got a kill and Nicotra set up Ano for the trying blow. An Eagle hit landed out of bounds and Lenox had its first lead of the set 19-18.
Miller took over service and dropped in a pair of aces to get it to 23-18, before two missteps gave the Eagles 20. Kailyn Sorrentino came up with a block at the net, and Anna Nealon’s ace clinched the 2-0 match lead.
“Honestly, our wings being able to pinch in and get to their short balls, and our middle back handling those deep corners,” said Miller of the comebacks. “Our serving did pick up a little bit, and we were able to take advantage of some errors.”
Another early 13-7 lead by Mount Everett in the third set again evaporated, and Ano’s ace knotted things at 17. Kirchner and O’Dell had a block to take a lead, but the Eagles had finally had enough of Lenox comebacks.
Nadia Makuc put away a kill from Alexis Atwood, and Atwood added an ace for the 24-22 lead. Lenox forced it to extra points, but a Mount Everett ace ended things 26-24.
“They have come so far. I was nervous going into this game, because it is Lenox. But the way that we played, the girls matched Lenox’s energy and more,” said Snyder. “They’ve come together and tonight really showed their true colors as a team. It showed, the energy, they wanted to win.”
The long, draining set emptied the Eagles reserves, however, and Lenox ran away with the fourth. Emily Barenski’s ace made it 4-0 early, and Lenox benefited from some miscommunication on kills by Ano and Nicotra, before a Nealon ace made it 9-3.
Haiss and Krom stopped the bleeding a couple times with assisted kills, but Lenox was too powerful. Nicotra found a rhythm with Sorrentino, who started laying some heavy blows on the Eagles defenders. Kills from her made it 16-8, 18-8 and 21-9.
Ano dropped in a late ace and the match was clinched 25-11.
Lenox was 22nd in the Division V playoff field when the MIAA released it’s preliminary rankings last week. Mount Everett was 39th.
“We’re doing a lot of serve-receive right now,” said Miller of the work going on as the postseason nears. “We’re also working to speed up our offense, doing some different setting and attacking.”