BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- There’s something in the water when it comes to Barnstable girls' volleyball.
The Raiders used a swarming defensive effort — where it looked at times there were eight or nine red jerseys on their side of the court — and a powerful display at the net by Kaylee Deluga (18 kills) and Lynne Hibbard (eight kills) to take out Brookline 3-1 (25-14, 25-18, 22-25, 25-15) in the Div. 1 state semi-finals last night at Bridgewater-Raynham High.
Barnstable (22-0) will now play Central Catholic in the state finals in hopes of securing a 14th championship trophy.
“I’m proud of my girls, they rose to the occasion,” said Raiders coach Tom Turco, who has been at the helm for 24 seasons. “You have to give these girls credit.”
Turco’s crew was able to establish a presence at the net early in the first game. Hibbard had three blocks for kills in the early stages and Deluga showed off her ability to put away points with a big, sweeping lefty strike in the 25-14 win for the Raiders.
The key for Barnstable was limiting the Warriors’ key outside hitter, Maya Midzik, from causing havoc on the Raiders back-line. And for two and a half games — including a 25-18 second game victory — the Raiders were able to keep the Warriors (20-3) threat under wraps.
“The thing about their offense is that they don’t just go to her exclusively. They trust their other hitters, but we had to key in on her,” said Turco. “I thought we did a good job and we adjusted our defense outside the block more and came up with some key digs. She’s not going to hit into blocks, she’s going to hit around the blocks and to our kids credit they did that well.”
Midzik and the Warriors did get things together when it looked like the Raiders would wrap up the clean sweep late in the third game. With the Raiders leading 21-17, Brookline went on a 9-1 run to take a 25-22 victory and extend the match.
The Warriors did most of their damage off the serve of Marie Fleming, as Midzik put away four keys points in that stretch, including a loud kill to complete the comeback.
“We executed our game plan,” said Warriors coach Mike Frank. “That was probably the best eight points we played all night, in a row anyway. We didn’t quite execute what we wanted to do.”
The Warriors had all the momentum going into the fourth game, but the Raiders calmly got back to the defense at the net and the ability to withstand the rushes from Midzik and the other outside-hitters to grab a lead at 3-2 and never look back.
Hibbard starred again as she teamed up with Regan Bristol to record a few blocks and form a wall at the net, and the back-line did it’s job in funneling the ball to their attacking offensive players to finish off the match with a 25-15 win.
“We just knew that we had to step up the intensity and we didn’t talk as much as we should have,” said Hibbard. “We knew that we had to come together as a team, because we wanted it and we got it.”