By Jaron May, HockomockSports.com Student Reporter
FRANKLIN, Mass. – Despite dropping the first two sets, King Philip battled back and to win the next three to clinch the game and add another tally to the win column.
The Panthers pounced on the Warriors early on. In the first set, Franklin went on run after run, only being stopped periodically by KP for a point or two. In the blink of an eye, the Panthers got out to a quick 3-0 start and never looked back.
Franklin extended their lead to 13-6 in the next few points, thanks to some great serving by Riley Marino and Erin Skidmore. KP pulled to within three at the 15-12 mark, but Franklin was able to pull even further ahead. The Panthers finished up the set with a pair of aces from Marino and a kill from Skidmore for a final score of 25-18.
The second set was similar to the opening stanza. A slow start, mental mistakes, and mishandled balls from King Philip and some stellar play from Skidmore led to another Panther victory. This time around, Franklin didn’t even allow KP to get close. Nine straight service points by Skidmore, including four aces, helped the Panthers jump out to an 11-1 lead. She didn’t slow down either, adding another two more aces and three kills in the set. Skidmore had taken over the game and looked like she was ready to finish off the Warriors after Franklin’s second set 25-11 win.
King Philip relied heavily on junior Sydney Phillips during its comeback Phillips was one of the first to take the service line in the third set and took advantage of it. She had 10 straight service points that included three aces. The Warriors used that momentum and went on the attack. The Warriors’ offense came together, while their defense handled some strong Panther serves, and closed out the set 25-11.
King Philip had other players step up around Phillips, with some great contributions from all over the court. Setter Carly Adams had one of her most impressive performances of the season. Adams totaled 16 assists on the game and was a key to the team’s success.
“She has really great sets, she puts it right where I want it,” Phillips said about her teammate.
Adams deferred credit; when asked about her great play she said, “It starts with the back row.”
That back row, anchored by KP’s libero Amanda Loewen, was a big part to the Warriors’ success down the stretch. Some outstretched digs and back row kills by Loewen came at key points for the Warriors.
The fourth set was more tightly contested than the others. Neither team pulled too far ahead until after the teams were tied 13-13. KP found an offensive weapon in outside hitter Michaela Palumbo. Palumbo was moved to the outside position for the first time since her freshman year and shined in it.
“Everyone helped me out, I didn’t really know the rotation, so everyone worked together and it really helped us out today,” Palumbo mentioned about her new position.
KP kept feeding Palumbo, as she found the holes in the Panthers’ defense, totaling nine kills on the day. Franklin’s Skidmore’s offense (12 kills) helped keep Franklin close but KP sealed the set with a Phillips kill and a final score of 25-20.
KP’s Adams opened the final set with an ace, which gave the Warriors the energy they needed. Franklin fought right back though, with Skidmore in the forefront. The score bounced back and forth until it was tied at 13 apiece. A big kill coming from Julianne Rando put preceded a double touch on Franklin giving KP a narrow 15-13 win and a 3-2 win.
“We used the anger and frustration that we had and turned it into positive energy,” Carly Adams noted after the game.
With the win, King Philip (7-1, 7-1) moves into a tie with Mansfield atop the Kelley-Rex division. The Warriors will return to action against North Attleboro on Tuesday. Franklin (5-3, 6-4) will try to bounce back as travel to Canton on Wednesday.
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