Methuen Rangers Girls Volleyball '17

Sat, Nov 11, 2017 12:00 PM @ Methuen
Team 1 2 3 4 5 Final
Andover 19 16 25 25 15 3
Methuen 25 25 20 17 10 2

Facing elimination, Andover surges back for North title

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Saturday, November, 11 By David Willis
Staff writer

HAVERHILL — The end seemed unavoidable for Andover volleyball.

The No. 3 seed Golden Warriors had dropped the first two games of the Division 1 North final to top-seeded Methuen, the second by a decisive 25-16 score.

As the third set started, the raucous Ranger crowd seemed ready for a victory celebration.

But the Golden Warriors weren’t ready to surrender just yet.

“We have practice jerseys that say, ‘Earned, not given,’” said Warrior tri-captain Sarah-Margaret Williams. “And we had to earn it tonight. We had to persevere and use the skills that we have learned. Our hard work really paid off.”
After battling for two victories to force a winner-take-all fifth game, Andover rallied from four points down to lock up the Division 1 North crown 19-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-17, 15-10 over the Rangers.
It was just the second loss of the season for Methuen (21-2), both to Andover (19-2). The two teams split their two regular season matchups.
“This is crazy,” said tri-captain Sophia Wang. “I remember this feeling when I was a freshman, and to do it now is just amazing. Methuen is a great team, and a great competitor. When we were down, we were frustrated, but we persisted. We knew we were a better team than what we were showing, and we came through.”
The win sends Andover to the Division 1 state semifinals, where the Warriors will face Central-West champ Hopkinton (21-2). The date and location of the game have not been announced.
This marks the sixth time in the last eight years that the Golden Warriors have advanced to at least the state semifinals.
“It is just amazing,” said Alexis Mancha. “Coach (Jane Bergin) gave us a great pep talk. We knew we had to come back and win it for each other, and we did. We just had to play our game. In the third set, when we went on a run, the whole team realized we could do this.”
Methuen’s Abby Sullivan (game-high 31 kills) led a dominant Ranger attack through two games, closing out the second with a pair of huge spikes.
“It was frustrating because we started to realize that this could be the end of our season,” said Wang. “But we just said we weren’t going to let that happen, and play our game.”
Andover rallied to take the third game, then took a dominant fourth game that Hailey Halverson closed out with a pair of spikes to force the decisive fifth game.
Methuen recovered to take a 9-5 lead. But with Olivia Gaspar serving, Andover won the next nine points. The Rangers broke that streak, but a Halverson spike closed out the victory.
“Once we got into the fifth set I didn’t think we were going to lose at all,” said Mancha. “It was just awesome, and to get the win was so exciting.”
Halverson led the Warriors with 13 kills and six blocks, while Gaspar had 16 digs and three aces. Mancha added eight digs and three aces.
“The last point was just an amazing rush of excitement,” said Wang. “It meant we had come all the way back from down 0-2 and got the win. I can’t wait for the state semis.”
A win in the semis would send the Warriors to their third state final in fourth years.
“We know had badly we wanted it and we all pulled together for the win,” said Williams. “We are confident and excited for what’s next.”

Game Statistics:

Kills: A — Hailey Halverson 13, Sarah Shattuck 11; M — Abby Sullivan 31

Blocks: A — Halverson 6, Shattuck 4; M — Julia McCoy 7

Assists: M — Laura Staugler 33

Service points (aces): A — Olivia Gaspar (3), Sophia Want (3), Alexis Mancha (3); M — Jillian McCoy 15 (5)

Digs: A — Gaspar 16, Mancha 8, Wang 7; M — Staugler 10

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