Powerhouse Barnstable Too Much For Taunton

By Jarett Leonard, HockomockSports.com Contributor
KINGSTON, Mass. – Barnstable had advanced to at least the Division 1 South semifinal every year since 1989, including 20 sectional titles and sixteen state championships. Taunton was appearing in its first D1 South final.
The Tigers won 15 matches this year, more than the past three seasons combined. The Red Raiders have not been held to fewer than 15 wins since 1988.
Experience was clearly on Barnstable’s side in the D1 South final Saturday night at Silver Lake High School as they ended Taunton’s magical run through the tournament with a quick three-set win.
“They’re the best team in the state, a dynasty,” Taunton head coach Toby Chaperon said. “We told our kids we’re a team of destiny going against a dynasty. However you want to think of it as an underdog story, that’s how it presented itself. Ultimately the result didn’t come in our favor today.”
Taunton defeated #10 Plymouth South, #2 Mansfield and #3 New Bedford en route to the final after finishing fourth in the Kelley-Rex Division during the regular season, an important milestone for the program.
“We knew we had to beat teams like Mansfield and New Bedford, and that was a good stepping stone for us because those teams are there every year,” Chaperon said. “It was a great accomplishment for our kids and I couldn’t be more proud of our kids and how they handled themselves. They worked hard all year and over the past five years.”
From the first serve, Barnstable’s experience presented itself clearly to the Tigers. Tied 4-4 in the first set, the Red Raiders won eight points in a row to open a 12-4 lead. Two kills by senior Emily Moor brought the Tigers within five before a 6-0 Barnstable run created enough separation for a 25-15 opening set victory.
Taunton started strongly in the second frame, with Moor and senior Aimee Kistner recording kills and Meghan Navarro adding an ace for a 7-5 lead. But Barnstable quickly responded with another impressive 6-0 run as senior Ashley McCarthy set up kills for teammates Riley James and Megan Dombrowski.
“She’s a great player,” Chaperon said of McCarthy, who finished the night with a match-high 23 assists for the Red Raiders. “There are really no flaws on that team. You look at their lineup and what kids present and every kid on that team presents a challenge. They’re really tough.”
Taunton climbed back into the set with a pair of kills from junior Sam Reaume and senior Alyssa Gibson, but Barnstable slowly broke away for a 25-12 win and a two-set advantage.
McCarthy and sophomore Caroline Brodt silenced Taunton in the third set to seal the win. McCarthy had six assists, a kill and an ace in the set while the Red Raiders won eleven consecutive service points from Brodt, including two aces.
“A lot of teams, you’ve got to keep them out of systems so they can’t get into attacks,” Barnstable head coach Tom Turco, who is in his 28th year, said. “[Brodt] did a good job. I thought our serve-receive people passed the ball pretty well tonight.”
In addition to the 23 helpers, McCarthy added six digs and four kills for Barnstable. James led the Red Raiders with 12 kills while Danielle Derosier had nine digs and four aces. Brodt also finished with four aces and Sollows had ten kills in the win.
Taunton senior Molly Sullivan had a match-best 15 digs while senior setter Tatum Speicher had a team-high 12 assists. Moor recorded six kills and Kistner added 10 digs for the Tigers.
“I thought our defensive game plan was pretty good,” Chaperon said. “I thought we were able to dig up some of their shots. It was some of those tips and weird shots they were able to get off us rather than those big booming shots that we saw on tape and in person.”
Barnstable, winners of six-straight sectional tournaments, will face Concord-Carlisle in the Division 1 state semi-final as the program searches for its 17th state championship in 22 years.

Ryan Lanigan
Follow Me