Patriots swept in Berkshire League opener

BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony volleyball team began its season with a match against a tough Wahconah squad on Tuesday night at Kates Gym.

After some early-match jitters, MAU made a match of it but ended up falling 3-0.

"We've been trying to stress to the girls, we're still a new program, only in the third year," said MAU coach Stephanie Perna. "We are trying to build on what we had last year, and we had a lot of good talent come up this season."

In the first set, MAU trailed 10-5 after a Wahconah kill and an ace, but pulled within 13-10 after a kill from sophomore Emilie O'Brien.

But with the score 16-12,Wahconah went on a 9-0 run to seal the opening game.

"We didn't make it to the Jamboree this year, so this was the first night on the court against another team," said Wahconah coach David Lussier. "We were trying to get the jitters out and it was a good night. MAU had a strong night and played well, but this was a good start for us."

In the second set, Wahconah got out to a flying start, taking leads of 4-1, 12-2 and 17-3 on some quality serving from Emma Parkington and Francesca Gigliotto. Mount Anthony got a couple of points back before a Parkington ace made it 19-5. Eventually, Wahconah took a 23-7 lead and looked to close out an easy second set before MAU sophomore Amber Metcalfe came up with a six-point barrage at the service line, including a pair of aces to pull the Patriots to 23-13 before Parkington finished off the second set with a kill and a 25-13 victory.

"Amber came to me after the season last year, playing JV and told me she wanted to make the varsity," Perna said. "She worked hard during the summer. We've been working on her consistency. She's going to be one of our strong players."

MAU started to relax a bit in the third set, going back and forth with the Warriors. After a long rally, Wahconah took a 10-5 lead on a kill from Cornwell-L'hote, but Mount Anthony's Mackenzie Mayhew and Metcalfe came through with aces to cut the lead to 12-11. A service error moments later made it 14-13 and then Wahconah went on a 5-point run, finished off on a Parkington ace to make it 18-13, forcing a timeout. That's as close as MAU got, as the Warriors finished off a 25-17 win and the sweep.

"We struggled a bit with some of our best setters, but they settled down," Lussier said. "We have a busy week with Lee on Thursday and Monument Mountain on Friday. It's three games in four days, we want to take advantage of a good start and roll it into the rest of the week."

Parkington had five aces and nine kills, while Gigliotto added four aces, four kills and 21 assists. Laiken Cornwell-L'hote pitched in with seven kills.

Perna said she's unfazed by the season-opening sweep and is hopeful to see her team do well this season.

"We have room to grow and there will be a lot of improvement through the year," Perna said.


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