Yesterday afternoon, our dominant volleyball team was pushed by Heschel, but simply raised their level of play to dispatch the visitors in a 3-0 sweep that represented a 43rd straight league win, a 37th consecutive home win, and a 24th sweep in a row vs. PSAA opponents. The Bears also improved to 5-0 in league play as they seek a sixth consecutive undefeated league title.
In a rematch of the 2019 PSAA Championship, the Bears grabbed momentum early thanks to three straight aces from Gillian Bernier and a spike from Lilly Keegan that staked The Brook to a 5-1 lead. Bernier scored a point on a dig to cap a rally and give the Bears a 10-3 advantage that moved to 12-3 after a Keegan kill. Ella Middlekauff sent an ace into the deck for a 19-9 margin and Niamh Scanlon sizzled three straight aces as the lead swelled to 23-11. Bernier sent a kill ricocheting off a Heschel receiver and the ceiling before the set ended, 25-12, on a service error.
Heschel turned up the heat in the second set as they ran out to a 7-2 lead. Following a pair of Heschel errors, the Bears reeled off four straight points to retake the lead. They would not trail again in the set. Keegan started the run with a pair of kills that displayed her innate ability to control her body at the net. Bernier followed with a kill down the line and Ava McCormick capped the six-point spurt with an ace to give the Bears an 8-7 edge. Ties followed at 8-8 and 9-9, but a Scanlon touch kill and a Bernier spike gave the Blue & White an 11-9 advantage they would maintain for the duration. Keegan scored a key point when her free ball clipped the net for a point, but Heschel reeled off a trio of points to pull within 12-13. A pivotal stretch followed where Bernier rocketed a kill, Middlekauff served up an ace, McCormick spiked a point, and Heschel failed to return a serve to give The Brook its biggest lead of the set at 17-12. The margin grew to 19-13 after a Bernier kill, but the Heat refused to go away as they pulled back within 17-19. In the end, the Bears proved too powerful as kills from Bernier and McCormick preceded a Keegan spike on the way to a 25-21 win.
In set three, kills from Scanlon, Keegan, and Middlekauff and a McCormick ace fueled a 7-2 start that prompted a Heschel timeout. But their coach’s entreaties and the team’s collective calls to “focus!” and “battle!” were simply swept away by the power and inevitability of our Bears. Keegan slammed a kill off a blocker. Bernier notched two kills in three points. McCormick followed a block with a kill. Bears up 15-6. It’s a scene we’ve witnessed so many times before during their six-year dynastic run, but it somehow never gets old.
A Bernier ace and a McCormick kill pushed the lead to 20-12. Heschel tried to stave off their loss with a timeout, but it came just the same. A thunderous spike from Lilly Keegan moved the Bears within a point before the senior ended the set, 25-13, with a cagey roll shot. Bernier finished with 4 aces, 8 kills, and 3 digs, Scanlon 3 aces, Keegan 7 kills, 1 ace, and 4 digs, McCormick, 1 ace and 4 kills, Middlekauff 2 aces and 1 kill, and Georgia Apazidis 1 dig.
The Bears are back in action on Tuesday in a home match-up vs. Kew-Forest.