Pinkerton Astros Boys Volleyball '08

Tue, Oct 28, 2008 05:30 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 Final
Playoff Game
Timberlane 25 25 25 3
Pinkerton 19 22 21 0

Timberlane advances to finals

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Jarrod Thompson, Staff PhotographerMore photos

Wednesday, October, 29 By Chuck Frye
Staff writer

DERRY, N.H. — There’s a new face in the race for the Division 1 volleyball title.

Undefeated top seed Salem earned its customary berth, but its opponent this year will be Timberlane. Continuing its best season ever, the second seeded Owls took a determined 25-19, 25-22, 25-21 triumph over No. 3 Pinkerton Academy in Tuesday’s opening match.

The pair will face off Friday at 6 p.m. at Pinkerton for the title. The second seed Owls, now 14-4, lost a pair of regular season shutouts to the No. 1 Blue Devils, who are riding a nation’s-best 92-game winning streak.

Timberlane showed championship character in its victory, preserving a big early lead in the first game and storming back from a pair of 8-1 deficits to close out the Astros (13-5).

"It’s a funny thing," Owl head coach John Duba said. "Normally I’m really animated on the bench, I get upset because I know they can play better. But (last night) I knew we were so steady, even when we were down, that we’d chip away, chip away and pull even. This is a team with a lot of heart."

Matt Dionne was the driving force in game one, scoring three of Timberlane’s last five points on superb cross-court blasts from the net.

Comeback No. 1 was shepherded by a trio of Owls. Junior Terry Matatall jump-started the momentum by digging an errant shot out of the net and setting up senior Alex Mill to save the point, drawing Timberlane within a point of the lead, 10-9.

Mill added a pair of kills and Dionne one to put the Owls on top but Pinkerton rebounded behind savvy net play from Spencer Taylor (9 kills, 17 service points, 1 ace) to pull ahead, 19-16.

Matatall came to life once again with two kills and a winning block to put the Owls on top to stay. Mill’s kill emphatically ended the second game.

"Basically it was intensity," said Matatall. "We play better when we’re feeding off that energy. We came out strong."

"This happened the last time we played Timberlane," explained Astros head coach Ralph Van Nostrand. "We were up 11-4 in the second game and lost, then we lost the match. We get big leads, and I can say we don’t have the killer instinct. It’s something everybody needs to develop."

After Tom Morini and Taylor served Pinkerton to another 8-1 lead, two winning shots and two aces by Mill combined with three Astro misses to turn the tide. From there, Tim Anderson (14 kills) became a monster with four thunderous kills, the last two locking up the win.

"We had great passing," Duba said of sophomore Conor Dube and his team-high 24 assists. "That was the key as the hitters can’t work without good passes."

Game Statistics:

Kills: P — Alex Rees 9, Spencer Taylor 9; T — Tim Anderson 14, Alex Mill 10

Blocks: P — Dan Goodwin 7

Assists: P — Tom Morini 8; T — Conor Dube 24

Service points (aces): P — Taylor 17 (1); T — Mill 15 (5)

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