BURLINGTON >> Lewis Mills (19-2 overall; 12-0 BL) put away a Berkshire League Tournament championship Friday night, following its first regular-season league championship since 1998.
Friday, the Spartans lived up to their No. 1 tournament seed with a 2-0 best-of-three semifinal win over No. 4 Housatonic (11-7 overall; 4-7 BL), then gutted through a strong challenge from defending champion Terryville (12-9 overall; 7-5 BL) in a 2-1 (25-10; 20-25; 25-16) win in the finals.
The Kangaroos had a tougher road, unseating No. 2 seed Northwestern (12-7 overall; 8-3 BL) in a three-game semifinal marathon, then pushed the Spartans to another three games.
“We played Mills the same as we did Northwestern,” said Terryville coach Damian Coggshall. “We were too flat in the first game; then we picked up the rhythm on defense and offense.”
That worked against the Highlanders, but fatigue and Mills talents kept the Kangaroos from working the trick twice.
“Lewis Mills has just been a powerhouse,” said Coggshall. “They’re good in all aspects of the game.”
The respect was mutual.
“(Terryville has) a storied program,” said Mills coach Chuck Drda. “They start real young.”
Nevertheless, Game One in the finals was too easy for the Spartans.
Mills setter Katie Hurlock (4 aces, 1 kill, 3 digs, 24 assists) set the tone with two aces in an early stint on the service line that started the first-game rout at 5-0. Then the Spartans showed all their glorious aspects.
Teagan Dunn (10 kills; 8 digs) blew a slam through a Terryville block for 6-3. Tori Kryzwick played through the pain of a bent-back thumb to finish a kill after a block by Dunn at 8-4.
“We have finger issues,” laughed Kryzwick.
Finger issues stopped no one.
Hannah Doyle made an amazing dig to set up a kill for 14-7; the entire team hung on through a great volley, 20-9; Mollie Quinn-Alger (4 aces, 3 kills, 6 digs) sent a kill through a Kangaroo block, 23-10.
The final score, 25-10, paralleled the Roos’ opener against Northwestern, 25-12, Highlanders.
“I was surprised at the first game,” said Coach Drda.
Terryville came all the way back against Northwestern; now, the Kangaroos made another run.
“They started digging us,” said Drda.
The Spartans expected nothing less.
Mills swept Terryville in three games the first time they met; it took five games to beat them in the second.
“They’re smart,” said Dunn. “They find the open spaces.”
“They’re energetic,” said Kryzwick.
Terryville grabbed the lead early, then dared Mills to catch up through ties at 7; 17; 18; and 19.
Kangaroo senior Bailey Doran (4 kills, 15 digs, 1 ace) found an empty corner at 7-5; Mackenzie Witham (4 kills, 3 blocks) hit another open spot for 8-7.
The beauty of this match was a lack of unforced errors. Players had to earn most points, not hope for them.
Terryville sophomore Leah Switser made Mills pay for a floater over the net at 17-17, tapping it back to the floor.
A bad Mills pass produced the final point, 25-20. Great Terryville digs set up the opportunity.
Terryville’s Game Two momentum carried the Kangaroos through a near-match for the Spartans through a 12-10 deficit in Game Three.
Then the Spartans’ bits and pieces clicked again: Kryzwick with a back-row kill, 14-10; Dunn powering through the net and would-be blocks, 15-12, plus a service ace, 20-13; a block by Amanda Stocker (3 kills, 9 digs) , 22-16; and a final ace by Kryzwick, 25-16.
“We hustled and we never gave up,” said Coggshall.
“If the girls are clicking, we could make a good run in the (state) tournament,” said Coach Drda.
Berkshire League Girls Volleyball Tournament
At Lewis Mills High School
No. 1 Lewis Mills 2, No. 3 Terryville 1
(25-10; 20-25; 25-16)
Highlights: T-Mackenzie Witham 4 kills, 3 blocks; Bailey Doran 4 kills, 15 digs, 1 ace; Libby Rahimi 2 kills, 12 digs, 1 ace. LM-Mollie Quinn-Alger 4 aces, 3 kills, 6 digs; Teagan Dunn 10 kills, 8 digs; Tori Kryzwick 1 ace, 12 kills, 9 digs; Amanda Stocker 3 kills, 9 digs; Katie Hurlock 4 aces, 1 kill, 3 digs, 24 assists.
Records: Terryville 12-9 (7-5 BL); Lewis Mills 19-2 (12-0 BL).
No. 1 Lewis Mills 2, No. 4 Housatonic 0
Highlights: H-Abby Wilson 1 ace, 3 kills, 1 block, 2 digs; Heather Kearns 1 block, 4 digs. LM-Tori Kryzwick 8 aces, 10 kills, 12 digs; Teagan Dunn 12 kills, 10 digs.
Records: Housatonic 11-7 (4-7 BL); Lewis Mills 18-2 (11-0 BL).
No. 3 Terryville 2, No. 2 Northwestern 1
(12-25; 25-23; 25-19)
Highlights: T-Bailey Doran 7 kills, 7 digs, 5 aces; Becky Malinowski 11 assists, 5 digs, 4 aces. NW-Taylor Fetzer 8 kills, 3 aces, 7 digs; Liz Newkirk 5 kills, 8 aces, 9 digs.
Records: Terryville 12-8 (7-4 BL); Northwestern 12-7 (8-3 BL).