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Volleyball Spikes Pioneers to Stay Unbeaten

April 1, 2021
Lily Middlekauff serves vs. LuHi (PC: Bruce Jeffrey)

Yesterday afternoon, the girls’ volleyball team topped Our Savior to improve to 4-0 on the season by way of four sweeps. It is also the team’s 30th consecutive league match victory dating back to 2016.

The Bears dispatched the Pioneers with relative ease at home on Monday, but two days and five miles later the Bears found a sharper, grittier Our Savior team, perhaps fueled by their home crowd. The Bears took early control of game one thanks to kills from Lilly Keegan and Ava McCormick and a Niamh Scanlon ace. In a blink the Brook held a 6-0 lead. The Pioneers got no closer than five points the rest of the way as the Bears took game one, 25-15. The highlight of the game was a pair of sensational digs from Gillian Bernier that led to a Scanlon kill and a 15-8 advantage.

In game two, Scanlon opened with an ace, but the Pioneers responded with four straight points to take their first lead of the match. The Bears bounced back with a 6-1 run, capped by a trio of points from an Ella Middlekauff block, a McCormick ace, and a Keegan kill. Our Savior refused to wilt after giving back the lead as they scored four straight points, including consecutive aces, to retake a 9-7 lead and prompt a Stony Brook timeout. The pause seemed to refocus the Bears who took the next four points to take back a lead they would not relinquish. Though the Bears would not trail again in game two, the Pioneers refused to go down willingly. Midway through the game, the Pioneer crowd gave its loudest cheer after the hosts capped a long rally with a point to pull within 14-12. The momentum was up for grabs, but the experienced Bears made sure to seize it. On the next point, a Bernier kill rolled along the top of the net before falling to the deck on Our Savior’s side, providing the catalyst for a 6-0 run that paved the way for the Bears’ game two win. McCormick, Scanlon, and Keegan followed with kills as the Bears emphatically righted the ship. McCormick and Ella Middlekauff closed out the game with a pair of kills as the Brook took a 2-0 lead, 25-16.

In game three, the Bears trailed until nabbing a 6-5 advantage when the Pioneers failed to return a Lily Middlekauff serve. The score ushered in an 8-0 run, capped by three Lily Middlekauff aces in a span of four points. It seemed that the Bears would cruise from there, but once again Our Savior showed toughness by pulling to within 18-15. The Bears gained some breathing room with a Scanlon touch kill and a Bernier missed serve. After Keegan’s third massive kill of the game the Bears led 22-17, needing just three points to close out the sweep, but the Pioneers improbably scored the next five points to knot the score at 22-22. Despite the unexpected pressure, the Bears remained focused, imploring each other to focus on the next point. That confidence, born out of their sustained excellence for the last five years, helped them close out a 30th straight win. After Our Savior served the ball out, Keegan followed with an ace to move the Bears within a point of the win. But the Pioneers scored to pull back within 24-23 before a serve into the net anticlimactically ended the final game, 25-23.

The Bears are back in action after the Easter holiday with a Thursday home match vs. Lawrence Woodmere.

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