EHS volleyball team beats Malden, drops heartbreakers

The Everett High volleyball team posted an important league win over Malden and dropped two heartbreakers to GBL rival Somerville and non league foe Lowell in action this past week.

“It definitely was a week of up and downs and very emotionally trying for us,” said EHS head coach Mike Fineran. “Although it would have been nice to have won those two close matches, we played with a lot of heart and emotion in both of them, which I think will bode well for us for the rest of the season.”

After getting off to what has been their characteristically slow start this season in the Malden contest, dropping the first set 25-22, the Lady Crimson Tide came on strong in the second set and got stronger as the match wore on en route to a 3-1 victory, 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, and 25-14.

Amanda DeSouza accounted for four kills in the first set, but teammates Taciane Santos (four kills) and Bersa Shkreta (six service points, including two aces) came though in a big way in the second set to help even the match at 1-1. Shkreta took over at serve with the score 21-19 and served it out to win the set.

Shkreta continued her service mastery at the outset of the third set to give the Lady Crimson Tide a quick lead and would end up with 10 service points to provide the big spark in a 25-18 victory. Santos was immense up front with five kills and two blocks.

The fourth set belonged to the Lady Crimson Tide all the way, as Santos, DeSouza, and Wellen Maforte controlled the play at the net, while Wellen also pitched in with five service points, of which three were aces, that boosted Everett into an insurmountable 22-11 advantage from where the Lady Crimson Tide closed out the Lady Golden Tornados.

Friday saw the Lady Crimson Tide engage another GBL foe, Somerville, in a duel that was as close as the final score indicated, with Somerville emerging on top in five sets, 25-21, 28-30, 26-28, 25-13, and 15-12.

After dropping the first set, Everett took control in the second set to bounce back into the match. Santos was credited with five service points in the set, including an ace at 29-28 for the clinching point.

Taci then got Everett out to a fast start in the third set with seven service points, of which four were aces. DeSouza’s turn at serve midway through the set propelled Everett into a 14-5 lead.

However, in a harbinger of things to come, Somerville hung tough and battled back, clawing their way back and overcoming a 23-20 deficit to tie matters at 25-25. Somerville forged ahead, 26-25, but the Lady Crimson Tide staved off the set point to knot matters at 26-26. DeSouza then served two aces to claim the set.

Although Everett now was in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 lead, Somerville jumped out quickly in the fourth set and cruised to a 25-13 victory, setting the stage for the climactic fifth game. The teams battled each other evenly until Somerville managed to win three points at 12-12 to claim the set and the match.

“Although we won those second and third sets in real nailbiters, we seemed to lose our momentum in the fourth set,” said Fineran. “We got back into in the fifth set and fought them point for point, but they put together a string of three points at the end to win the match.”

Monday’s non league encounter with Lowell Monday proved to be another hard-fought and exciting affair as both teams took turns at swinging the pendulum of momentum in their favor.

Everett broke its pattern of slow starts thanks to Krysta Keats, who came into the match late in the first set and brought Everett from a 21-17 deficit into a 24-22 advantage with some excellent serving. “Krysta came in and gave us a real spark,” said Fineran. “She continued to serve consistently throughout the match and definitely was the star of the match for us.”

Everett won that set, 25-22, but proved unable to sustain its momentum in dropping the next two sets, 25-20 and 25-17, despite some powerful play at the net by Santos and DeSouza, who accounted for 10 kills in the second set.

The Lady Crimson Tide, trailing in sets 2-1, had their backs to the wall in the fourth set, trailing 17-12, when Keats once again spun her magic and served for four straight points to bring Everett back to within a point, 17-16. After Everett got back its serve at 18-17, Wellen Maforte took over and moved her team into a nice 23-19 advantage. Everett eventually took the set, 25-23, to even the score at 2-2.

Once again the Lady Crimson Tide engaged in a race to 15 points in a fifth set, and this time the contest proved even more dramatic than the Somerville match as the teams battled each other point-for-point. Everett had two match point opportunities, 14-13 and 16-15, but was unable to cash in. Lowell hung tough and claimed the set and match, 18-16.

“It was tough to lose in a fifth set for the for the second straight match,” said Fineran, “but seeing how hard the girls played and how much they put into every point, I feel good about our chances of doing well in the final two weeks.”

Although the Lady Crimson Tide stand at 5-7 overall on the season, they are 4-2 in the GBL and presently are in second place, a final standing that would qualify them for the state tourney. With regular season matches left against Medford today (Wednesday) and Cambridge Friday, a victory over Medford will assure Everett of second spot in the league and punch their ticket for a Journey to the Tourney..

Fineran and his crew will play at Reading next Tuesday and host Lynn Classical next Wednesday. They then will compete in the GBL tourney on Thursday and Friday.

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