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Tanners volleyball downs Big Blue

Peabody's Alycia Gillen serves. (Item Photo by Katie Morrison)

SWAMPSCOTT — The Swampscott volleyball team had Peabody on the ropes Tuesday afternoon at Swampscott High. After losing the first set, the Big Blue stormed back to take the second, and looked to be in control of set three late.

But the Tanners turned it on to win five of the last eight points in the set and held Swampscott at bay in set four to take the 3-1 win to improve to 2-1 on the season.

The Tanners jumped out to a 8-4 lead in the first set, but behind six service points from Claudia Mazariegos, Swampscott climbed back in to take a 10-9 lead. Alexa Winter came up with three kills during the run.

Just as Swampscott got back into the game, Peabody pulled away, going on a run to take a 14-10 lead. One of Swampscott’s two tall girls up front, Morgan Lenihan, came through with a big kill to stay close at 16-12 later in the set, but behind three service points from Janine Goggin, the Tanners stretched the lead to 20-13, forcing Swampscott to take a time out to regroup.

From there on out, Peabody stayed firmly in control, and a block from Ann Manning sealed the 25-15 win for the Tanners.

Peabody dealt with some adversity in set two, losing middle hitter and senior captain Serena Laro in the middle of the set.

“That kind of threw us in that second set,” Peabody coach Lisa Keene said. “One person doesn’t mean that much as far as win or loss, in my opinion, but it does change the dynamics and who’s on the floor.”

Swampscott took advantage and rallied from a three-point deficit to claim the lead at 13-12. The Big Blue got a kill from Lenihan and an ace from Cassidy Ryan to make it 15-12. Although the Tanners stayed right in the set throughout, a kill from Mallory Kessler sealed the win, 25-21.

The third set felt like the one where momentum would swing one way or the other, and for most of the set, it looked like it’d be coming Swampscott’s way. Three aces from Mazariegos gave the Big Blue a 10-5 lead, and later a big kill from Kessler made it 14-9. But slowly, Peabody chipped away at the lead. A Peabody ace made tied the score at 18-18. Annika Laudemann got one back for Swampscott right after, but the Big Blue couldn’t hold back Peabody any longer. Three service points from Goggin put Peabody in the lead, 22-20, and Bianca Chouinard smacked a serve that Swampscott couldn’t return for the 25-21 win.

The set loss knocked the air out of Swampscott, it seemed, and coach Chip Emery agreed.

“They just collapsed, they couldn’t hold it anymore,” Emery said.

“I thought there were just too many unforced errors, and they lost focus on what they had to do,” Emery added. “You have to play through the whole match and go for every ball.”

Peabody closed out the match with a 25-19 win in the final set. Rachel Coleman (15 assists) had an ace and three service points to get the set started on the right foot for Peabody, and big points from Alexa Flewelling and Alycia Gillen (4 aces) helped the Tanners close it out.

“I think both teams were getting tired (at that point),” Keene said. “Swampscott’s a great team, and even personally as a coach I started to figure some things out. We had a lot of service errors in the third set, so we switched some servers around.”

Playing well for Peabody were Martyna Kot (4 aces) and Tatianna Correia, who played great defense.

It was the first loss of the season for Swampscott (2-1), and Emery said the next step is to keep working on the fundamentals.

“(We’ll be doing) a lot of serve-receive and serving drills, that’s where it all starts,” he said. “That’s most important. If we get that down, we can start to make the plays.”

Peabody will look to continue the momentum against North Reading Thursday, while Swampscott will take on Everett Friday.

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