Patriots battle, fall in four sets

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BENNINGTON >> The Mount Anthony volleyball team is young and that inexperience can manifest itself as the game moves along, the longer it goes.

Going into the fourth set against Monument Mountain, it seemed like MAU was done, down 20-6 at one point before a seven-point run put the Patriots back in contention.

But the Spartans won out, taking the Berkshire League match, 3 sets to 1.

"I'm proud of the way our kids played tonight, it's one of the only times we've gone more than three sets," said Mount Anthony coach Katie Contrada. "We stayed composed and worked together and that's a key to this game."

Monument won the first set, 25-19, then lost the second 25-23. The third went the Spartans' way, 25-21, as did the fourth, 25-16.

In the opening set, Mount Anthony led 13-9 after a pair of aces from senior Marleigh Greene, but the Spartans' Daina Henry scored 10 straight points on the serve to take a 18-13 lead.

"I try to drill it into their heads how important serving is and to see my daughter come off and serve really well is great," said Monument Mountain coach Kyle Henry.

In the second set, MAU took an early 3-0 lead, but the Spartans came back to tie it at 5-5. Monument Mountain was bit by a handful of service errors but it was a kill from Emma Myers that tied the set at 21-21 before the Patriots won it 25-23.

"They pick up a lot of balls and we need to fix our unforced errors," Henry said. "We're trying to keep the chemistry on the floor and it carries down the line."

Contrada said the improvement from August is in spades.

"They are totally out there, they are playing the game now," Contrada said. "Skill-wise, we're right there."

MAU took the lead with three points to start the third set too, but the Spartans tied it at 8-8 and MAU took a timeout. After the stoppage, Monument Mountain scored the next eight points to take a 16-8 lead. Mount Anthony got the deficit as close as four points after a kill by Jordyn Burke, but the Spartans finished off a 25-21 win.

In the fourth, MAU got behind after a couple of good serving streaks, but with Myers serving for the Patriots, the deficit cut from 21-9 to 21-15.

"Emma was big serving for us, putting some heat on it," Contrada said. "Mackenzie Mayhew had some huge saves, Carly Bylina got her serves in as well. We played well as a team."

After MAU's run, Monument Mountain took a timeout and regrouped, scoring four of the last five points for the victory.

"Momentum is also a key to this game and at times some of the kids stepped up and helped get a rally going, it's just a matter of putting the little things together," Contrada said.

MAU hosts Lenox on Wednesday.


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