Classical volleyball sweeps crosstown rival English

Classical's Skyler Crayton leaps for the ball during Monday's match at English. (Item Photo by Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — A volleyball match is often a game of runs. Both teams have their streaks and high moments during each set but the it’s more consistent group that usually earns the win.

The English volleyball team played great volleyball, at moments, during Monday evening’s match against Classical. However, the Rams were the more consistent team and walked away with a 3-0 win in a battle between crosstown rivals at Paul Cavanaugh Field House. Set scores were 25-15, 25-21 and 25-14.

English fell to 1-5.

“Consistency is kind of the buzzword for me this year,” English coach Mike Haddad said. “I see these moments of brilliance where they’re on, the serves are great, their heads are up and they’re talking to each other; and they’re really vollying it back and forth and actually playing the game of volleyball. But we’ll see a couple good plays like that and the next play it’ll drop on the court and no one makes a play on it.

“It’s tough as their coach because I see the potential of this team,” Haddad said. “I know how great they can be. When they have those moments where they lose focus or consistency isn’t there, it ends up costing them a set and ends up costing them the game.”

Bulldogs libero Angel Batista logged four aces and Khammany Phommachanh tallied six kills. Merily Folesta also played well for English.

Classical, with the win, improved to 4-2. Jenna Tobin led the Rams in service points with 13 and added three aces. Pamela Diaz logged 11 service points and two aces, while Amber Crayton contributed with eight service points, three kills and two aces.

The first set was back-and-forth during the early stages with English hanging within a point of Classical, down 11-10 before a timeout. The Rams left the break a more energized team and built their lead but a handful of communication issues on Classical’s part allowed the Bulldogs to grab a few points. Classical closed the set with a 25-15 win.

“I keep telling them that every point is a point, you don’t know what’s going to sway it,” Classical coach Frank DeLuca said. “The momentum will swing. They have to have the mental toughness to stop that. We practice it over and over in communication and we didn’t do it well today. If we clean up the communication and service errors, we play pretty well.”

The Bulldogs grabbed the first three points of the second set before Classical went on a 6-0 run to regain the lead. A service ace from Batista knotted the set at 6-6 but the Rams, again, strung together another run to grab a commanding 15-7 lead. Showing no quit, English made things interesting again when it trailed 24-21. A Bulldogs service error accounted for Classical’s final point and the Rams took the set, 25-21.

“Even though there were some mistakes (Monday night) they really made it a game,” Haddad said. “They really challenged Classical. I thought Classical played a strong game.”

Another English service error closed the third set for Classical’s 25-14 set win, sealing the Rams’ 3-0 match victory.

“Maggie McHale came in during the third set and she kind of took control when it was getting close,” De Luca said. “She had a couple blocks. She didn’t get too many spikes but she really helped. We were way taller than (English) and we should’ve dominated but we didn’t. They did a good job just getting over our front rows and our back kids weren’t coming up quick enough.

“A win is a win,” DeLuca said, “but we have four games this week. We’re playing Winthrop (Tuesday). Hopefully we’ll bounce back. English is improving and getting better. You can’t take them for granted.” 

Both teams are back on the court Tuesday when the Bulldogs host Malden (5:30) and the Rams travel to Winthrop (5:30).

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