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LYNN— Still undefeated.
The Classical volleyball team took down crosstown rival English 3-1 Wednesday evening at Paul Cavanagh Field House. Classical improved to 5-0 on the season- all wins against Northeastern Conference opponents. But, said Rams coach Frank DeLuca, the season’s still young and Classical has plenty to work on.
“I think we still need to improve in certain areas,” DeLuca said. “We made a lot of unforced errors (Wednesday). Our serving is basically our bread and butter. At certain points in the first two sets it wasn’t there. Then in the last two sets the serving came alive and we were able to pull away.”
English fell to 1-1. The Bulldogs, who defeated Salem in their season opener last week, move forward with a positive takeaway after a strong second set.
“Classical has a really good system in place,” English coach Mike Haddad said. “I’ve been coaching against them for five years now. They definitely have a really good routine. Every time we face them, they’re ready.”
Set scores were 25-16, 15-25, 25-11 and 25-15.
Pamela Diaz led the Rams with 18 service points and seven aces, while Brooke Warren added 13 service points and five aces. Amber Crayton logged 30 digs. Jean Gupton-Morrison tallied seven kills.
English’s Abnerliz Ocasio Lugo logged 10 serves, eight attacks, two aces and one kill. Merily Folestal tallied nine serves and four aces. Tyler Kebreau contributed with 20 clean passes.
“This is Tyler’s first year on varsity,” Haddad said. “His sets (Wednesday) were the best I’ve seen him play in the three seasons he’s been in the program. He’s really shown a lot of progress over the years.”
English ran out to a 10-7 lead in the first set, keeping Classical at an arm’s length. After the Rams burned an early timeout, the Bulldogs carried their 3-point advantage into a 12-9 edge. That’s when Classical took over the set. The next four points belonged to Classical and the Rams reclaimed the lead at 13-12. Classical finished on a 12-4 run to win the first set 25-16.
A few minor adjustments made a major difference for the Bulldogs in the second set. Again, English sprinted out to a 10-7 advantage and forced Classical to use a timeout. The break didn’t help Classical this time, as English dominated the remainder of the set for a 25-15 win.
“Over the last couple years we’ve gone 0-3 against Classical,” Haddad said. “That second set shows a lot about this team. It shows Classical that this is a team that can contend with them. I’m not taking away from Classical’s victory because they played a strong game. In the third and fourth sets, I saw some communication issues on our side. Classical wanted it more in the end but I’m really happy with how we played for the most part.”
Set No. 3 was all Classical. English fell into an 8-0 hole and never recovered. The Rams took the set 25-11 and sealed the deal with a 25-15 win in set No. 4.
“Pamela had 10 service points in the third set, that gave us a lot of momentum,” DeLuca said. “I think the girls were a little bit tired during the game. They weren’t able to get the balls they usually get to and didn’t have that lift. I was kind of disappointed in that second set because there were too many unforced errors. But I loved the way they rebounded in the third and fourth sets. Brooke had a good set of serves in the last set and carried us toward the end.”
Classical travels to Malden for a non-conference match Monday (5:30). English hosts Saugus Friday (5:30).