This afternoon, the volleyball team swept fourth-seeded Solomon Schechter in the PSAA Semifinals to earn a berth in the championship match for the fifth year in a row. It was their eighth sweep of the season and 10th in a row dating back to last year’s semifinals.
Niamh Scanlon held the opening serve for the Bears and immediately staked them to an 8-0 lead, courtesy of five aces. It wasn’t until her sixth serve that the Lions were able to return it over the net. With the Bears ahead 11-4, they all but put the set away with 11 straight points, ignited by a kill and consecutive aces by Lily Middlekauff. Three straight kills by Keegan, Ella Middlekauff, and Scanlon pushed the lead to 20-4 before Lily Middlekauff dropped in another ace. With the Bears on the precipice of an opening win, Keegan scored the last three points on a flying touch kill and a pair of aces as the Bears took the opener, 25-5.
In set two, the Bears dropped the first point, but after an Ava McCormick kill and a Shannuel Lamptey ace, the Brook took a 5-1 lead. After a kill and consecutive aces from Ella Middlekauff, the Blue & White advantage swelled to 14-5, then 17-5 after the Brook won a long rally. The Bears led 22-8 when Keegan again shut the door on the set, sending the hit of the game into the deck for a 23-8 lead before hitting a spike to cap the 25-8 win.
In set three, a Scanlon ace and consecutive aces from Gillian Bernier gave the Brook an early 4-2 advantage before the Bears found their offensive stride, scoring on 12 of the next 13 points in their most dominant stretch of the match:
- 6-2: Keegan kill
- 7-2: Bernier ace into the deck
- 8-2: L. Middlekauff kill
- 9-2: Bernier ace on the back line
- 9-3: Solomon Schechter point
- 10-3: Keegan spike into the deck
- 11-3: Keegan spike into the deck
- 12-3: McCormick ace
- 13-3: L. Middlekauff kill
- 14-3: Keegan kill
- 15-3: McCormick ace
- 16-3: Keegan kill
- 17-3: L. Middlekauff kill
Up 21-7, the Bears registered one of the points of the match when Schechter sent back two of McCormick’s hardest hits of the day before Bernier found hardwood for the kill. It proved to be the Lions’ last gasp as Scanlon dropped in an ace and McCormick spiked the final point for the 25-7 win.
With the win, the Bears also improve to 16-0 all-time in home PSAA matches, including a perfect 5-0 mark in the postseason. They look to extend that streak and win a second straight tournament championship in tomorrow’s match-up with Long Island Lutheran.