Pamela Diaz logged five digs and 12 serve receptions for the Rams. (Item File Photo)

Classical bounced by tough Lawrence squad

LAWRENCE -- In sports, sometimes you just run into a better team. That's exactly what happened to the No. 11 Lynn Classical volleyball team on Thursday afternoon when it fell to No. 5 Lawrence in straight sets, 3-0, in the opening round of the Division 1 North tournament at Lawrence High. The set scores were 12-25, 8-25 and 7-25.

Lawrence, which went 15-5 in the powerful Merrimack Valley Conference (six of the 13 teams in the Div. 1 North tournament hail from the MVC), just had too much firepower for the Rams.

"I thought we played really well for the most part, but we just ran into a very good team from a great conference," said Classical coach Frank DeLuca. "We played right there with them for a good chunk of the first set, but in the end they were just able to wear us down."

Skyler Crayton led the offensive attack for Classical with four kills, while Shanelle Belmer-Barry had one kill and one block. Yaritza Zorrilla had seven digs and nine serve receptions, Pamela Diaz had five digs and 12 serve receptions and Rhode Alcindor had eight serve receptions.

The first set was full of near-misses for the Rams. While they were able to dig out a ton of spike attempts from Lawrence early on, the Rams weren't able to translate that defense into any points. The Lancers took an 8-2 lead and then, behind some incredible service play from Alondra Davila and Chantell Molgen, stretched the lead to 16-4 before Classical called a timeout. The Rams got a few points back coming out of the timeout, but Lawrence kept a comfortable lead. After a kill by Vielka Sanchez, the Lancers captured the first set by a comfortable margin.

The second set was much of the same. Lawrence jumped out to a 12-4 lead to force Classical into a timeout, then the Lancers put up a 7-0 run coming out of the timeout to really put the set out of reach at 19-4. The Rams got some points back following another timeout but Lawrence was able to close the set out relatively quickly, culminating in a kill by Kasandra Vasquez.

Things didn't get much better in the third set, as Lawrence took an early 9-1 lead. The Lancers then stretched that lead to 17-5 before closing the set and the match with a 12-2 run, culminating in a kill by Davila.

While it was a tough way to end the season, DeLuca knows that his team has no reason to hang its head. The Rams accomplished all of their initial goals from before the season started.

"We set a lot of goals before the season, and we knocked them all out," DeLuca said. "We won the Lynn City Championship for the fourth consecutive year, made it to the state tournament for the sixth consecutive year and we lived up to our potential as a team. You can't really ask for anything more than that."

The Rams finish up the season with a record of 12-9.

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