WILMINGTON, MA — Below is the latest weekly recap from WHS Volleyball Coach Bruce Shainwald.
Newburyport continues to improve, and is proving to be a competitive adversary. We have been trying to stress to the team how important it is to play smart: serve aggressive, but serve smart; hit aggressively, but hit in.. Don’t just try to overpower our opponents, but keep them out of system to get more opportunities to run an offense. Hit the ball over the net and find the court. We have a few really tough servers who were able to do exactly what we were looking for.
In the first set, we got out to a lead and were able to maintain it all the way to the end. The second set started out the same, but Newburyport was able to stay close and finally close out a tight set, 25-23. In the third set, the team got out to an early lead again. Newburyport came close, but this time, Wilmington was able to hold on for the win. In the fourth set, Wilmington came out strong opened a wider lead and was able to close out the match.
Overall we served 88% with 25 aces and only 11 errors. Maeve Cadogan led the team with 100% serving and three aces. Britt Cimaglia and Gabby Bond once again were strong servers for us with 96% serving and 8 aces and 5 aces respectively with only a single error each.
We were not as pleased with our offense, which got 20 kills in the match, but also made 19 attack errors. Again, we need to play smarter in order to continue to be successful. Gabby Bond led the team with 6 kills, and Raegan Sweeney contributed 5 kills.
Injuries are bound to happen during the course of a season, and we lost one of our Middle Hitters during the first set of this match. We tried a couple of different players at middle, and finally decided on playing Gianna Brunetto at middle. This decision worked out well in the Newburyport match and the remaining matches this week.
On Tuesday, we travelled to Stoneham to take on the Spartans. Coming off a few recent victories the girls seemed ready to turn it on against Stoneham. I continued to stress the need to play smart. Serve in! Hit in!
Apparently Brittany Cimaglia took my instructions to heart. After we got our first point on a great play from serve receive, Britt went on a run of 14 straight serves to stake us to a 15-0 lead. Wilmington never looked back in that set, allowing Stoneham only six more points in that set. As is often the case after a blow-out victory, there was a let-down in intensity and focus on our part, leading to a 4-8 deficit early on. But they were able to pull it together, tie it up and extend out to a 22-10 lead, before closing out the second set 25-14. The third set was closer, but Wilmington held the lead from start to finish.
This was the Wildcats best serving performance of the season, serving 93% with 17 aces and only 5 errors! As mentioned earlier, Britt Cimaglia was outstanding, serving 97% with 10 aces and only 1 error on 33 service attempts. Anna Rideout and Khrystyna Fedynyak contributed perfect serving outings as well.
We saw great improvement in our offense during this match as well, with a total of 22 kills and only 12 errors during the match. Our new middle hitter, Gianna Brunetto had a great night with 8 kills and only one error. Gabby Bond also contributed 8 kills with only one error. Maeve Cadogan had 5 kills with only one error.
We were very pleased with the way that the team played their game during this match, no matter whether Stoneham was running an offense at them or just dumping free balls at them. They maintained their composure and got their jobs done.
Going into this match, we were warned that Watertown had a very scrappy defense, but not a very potent offense. We stressed to the girls how important it was for them to keep the ball in play against a scrappy team. Keep our errors to a minimum and look for our opportunities to score.
The Wildcats came out strong in the first set. Watertown ran very few attacks, relying instead on just keeping the ball in play with free balls trying to score on 2nd ball over. Wilmington stayed patient and kept the ball in play, running their own attacks and scoring when they could. Once again, after a dominant first set, there was some let-down in the second set. To their credit Watertown did a much better job of running an offense and managed to score more often, but Wilmington held tough and gutted out a narrow victory. We made a small change to the lineup in the third set to let Raegan Sweeney play all the way around again, and have her use her powerful swings to generate some energy. She did a great job, sparking the team to a dominant third set victory.
Serving was a strength again this set with 96% serving, 10 aces and only 3 errors. Six of our nine active players served 100%! Our lowest serving percentage was 75%. It was great to see the girls putting our instructions into practice and not giving points away.
Our game plan in this match was to attack Watertown out of the middle. Both Gianna Brunetto and Maeve Cadogan rose to the challenge. Gianna continues to thrive in the middle with 7 kills and only one error. Maeve contributed another 6 kills and only one error. Gabby Bond had 7 kills from the outside.
The match against Watertown marked the mid-point in our 2018 season. Wilmington now stands at 3-5 in the Middlesex League and 5-5 overall. The season continues with a match against perennial powerhouse Winchester (6-2) at home on Tuesday, Oct 2nd at 4:00 pm, and away at Arlington (0-5) on Thursday, Oct 4th at 4:00 pm.
We seeking community support for our annual “Dig Pink” fundraiser in support of the Sideout Foundation and the work they do to support Stage 4 Breast Cancer patients and their families as the fight this terrible disease that continues to afflict so many in our community and in our families.
This season, our Dig Pink fundraiser will be taking place on Friday, October 12th, during our match against Melrose. The JV and Freshman teams will be taking the court at 6:00 pm, followed by the Varsity match at 7:00 pm.
We will be selling baked goods, as well as raffling off gift baskets between matches as well as between sets of the varsity match. All proceeds for the evening will go directly to the Sideout Foundation.
We appreciate your support, and we look forward to seeing you in the gym.
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