The Sunapee volleyball team hasn’t had great experiences in recent trips to the Division III semifinals, but the 3rd-ranked Lakers exorcised those demons Wednesday, earning its first trip to the finals since 2006 with a clean sweep of 2nd-ranked Farmington.
And though the win in straight sets may suggest a relatively easy night, Sunapee’s matchup against the Tigers was anything but, with tightly contested victories of 25-19, 25-17 and 25-19 to snap a streak of three straight losses in the semifinals. The Lakers benefited from more solid play from Elsa Pierson from the behind the service line, who singled handily brought her team back from a three-point deficit in the first set with a pair of aces.
Pierson finished with four aces in all, on an 8-for-12 serving performance. Sunapee also saw strong play from the likes of Meg Frederick, who registered eight kills to complement one ace, and Rachel Malanga, who tallies five kills and a handful of assists. The Lakers have now won an impressive 48 consecutive sets that includes 16 sweeps in both the regular season and first three rounds of the tournament.
Mike Pezone spoke with Sunapee senior Laura Sullivan after the game, and asked what it was like to finally get over the hump with a win in the semis.
Mike also spoke with Sunapee coach Tom Rainey, who echoed those thoughts, and said it shows just how far his players have come in their time with the team.
The Lakers will be up against a familiar opponent in Friday night’s championship, as they take on a 4th-ranked Winnisquam team that handed them their only loss of the regular season.