BURLINGTON >> Lewis Mills’ boys volleyball team swept a good Farmington team 3-0 (25-20; 25-23; 25-23) Friday afternoon in a reversal of last week’s loss to Masuk.
Last Friday, the Spartans (5-7) came out on the attack, then lost momentum midway through the match in a 3-1 loss.
This Friday, they started slow, then relentlessly climbed the hill.
“They played with a lot of momentum,” said Farmington coach Juliette Givens.
That’s music to Spartan coach Damian Coggshall’s ears.
“We’ve been working on staying up,” said Coggshall. “The thing I liked most about today was, if something didn’t go our way, we just shook it off.”
One of the hardest schedules in the state has made that task difficult sometimes, playing well against upper-echelon teams in Class M and L, then suffering in the standings without a win to show for it.
Farmington, now 10-6, can relate, after three close games with no prize on Friday.
The Indians lost to Mills 3-1 a month ago at Farmington High School. Clearly, they came to Lewis Mills seeking revenge.
Farmington senior T.J. Andrew (14 kills) had three kills in the Indians’ first five points in Game One and looked unstoppable.
The Indians 5-3 lead was that slim only because of mistakes.
“We just had to stay positive, keep smiling,” said Mills senior Josh Stefanski (12 kills, 29 digs).
The attitude paid off in Mills’ first clear point, on a kill from Stefanski.
Spencer Maloney (9 kills, 14 digs) kicked in to help keep Mills stay in lockstep with the Indians through a 19-19 tie.
“It was like a hike up a mountain,” said setter Seth Ouellette (2 kills, 31 assists, 5 digs).
With the summit in sight, the Spartans broke out their best.
Stefanski tapped to an open spot. Alexander Daigle rewarded a great Ouellette dig with a kill, then worked with him on two quick-kills in a row for the final points.
“All the guys do a good job reading my sets,” said Ouellette.
Game Two was another mountain.
Farmington’s Andrew rampaged again. So did Stefanski and Maloney with some big help from Dan Kryzanski.
The Game Two climb was much like Game One’s through a 12-12 tie.
This time, an Ouellette fake-set into a blank spot on Farmington’s court signaled the Spartans early takeoff.
Better yet, Andrew finally began to look vulnerable to Mills’ big front line.
“We have decent height in the middle; we can set up a solid block,” said Coggshall. “(Against Andrew), we shifted our block to the right side, hoping to change his hits.”
Daigle got to him with a block for 22-17, Game Two. A huge Stefanski kill got Mills to 23-18, then Daigle again, 24-19.
Two out-of-bounds Spartan slams, a block by Indian Austin Browne and an ace by Mark Steele caused serious rumbling on the slope, 24-23, Mills.
The Spartans shrugged off the tremor with a resounding kill by Kryzanski to finish off Game Two.
Match momentum belonged to Mills. It carried the Spartans all the way to a 9-4 lead in Game Three
Then Andrew found a second wind, beginning with a tap to an empty spot, then three big kills closing in at 11-9.
When the Indians took a 12-11 lead on Rushin Patel’s ace, Mills’ positive attitude had another big test.
The Spartans hung on to it all the way to 23-23.
Stefanski got a kill for the lead.
Super Spartan digs kept a volley alive for the final point, outlasting the Indians for a match-ending mistake.
“It was a team win,” said Coach Coggshall, crediting mutual encouragement as much as on-court teamwork for the triumph.
Lewis Mills 3, Farmington 0
(25-20; 25-23; 25-23)
At Lewis Mills High School
Highlights: F—T.J. Andrew 14 kills; John Dunphy 31 assists. LM—Josh Stefanski 12 kills, 29 digs; Spencer Maloney 9 kills, 14 digs; Tim Forella 4 kills, 4 blocks; Seth Ouellette 2 kills, 31 assists, 5 digs.
Records: Farmington 10-6; Lewis Mills 5-7.