Oliver Ames’ Upset Bid Of Barnstable Falls Just Short

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Oliver Ames junior Jordan Bennett tips a ball over a double block in the fourth set of the match against Barnstable in the D1 South Sectional Final. (Ryan Lanigan/HockomockSports.com)
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NEW BEDFORD, Mass. – The Oliver Ames volleyball team was making its first-ever sectional appearance on Saturday evening, matched up with the state’s top program in Barnstable.

But just making an appearance wasn’t enough for the fourth-seeded Tigers. In fact, Oliver Ames did something that very few teams have been able to do in the South Final over the last decade: they pushed the Red Raiders to the limit.

Oliver Ames twice rallied from one-set deficits, including a late comeback in the fourth set to force a decisive winner-take-all fifth set. But second-seeded Barnstable showed why they are considered the best program in state history, grabbing an early lead in the final set and never looking back to secure a 3-2 (25-17, 23-25, 25-22, 23-25, 15-9) win and the program’s 10th straight D1 South Sectional title.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

“I told them to take it one point at a time and to enjoy it because this could be it,” said Oliver Ames head coach Chelsea Cunningham. “Even though it was, this was the best they have ever played. I’m so proud of all of them. I couldn’t ask for anything more. They played so calm, they celebrated together and they picked each other up. And every set was close. After the first set, we evaluated every situation and how we wanted to approach it. The girls persevered under a lot of tough pressure. To even go to five, it was phenomenal to watch and we got to entertain the crowd.”

In their decade of dominance, Barnstable has dropped a total of just three sets in the sectional final game. New Bedford forced the Raiders to five in 2010 while Bishop Feehan grabbed one set in the 2014 final. Barnstable hadn’t dropped a set in the sectional final in the past four years.

“We’ve gone to five every match, I couldn’t believe it,” Cunningham said. “We’ve just taken it one point at a time in every match. We switched it up on the offense to makes sure everyone was an option and to just prepared that the ball was going to come back over. They were feisty, they were prepared…we were an underdog, no one expected us to go this far. And the girls just fed off that energy.”

OA showed early on they were ready to compete by keeping pace as junior Jordan Bennett placed a tip over the block for a kill, then forced a two-touch on a strong serve, and junior Caroline Flynn (10 kills) forced an error after a good hit to bring the Tigers within two, down 11-9.

Barnstable responded with a 6-2 run and ended up taking the first set 25-17.

But the Tigers responded in a big way, opening the second set with a 7-0 run, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the game. Senior Ryley McNeeley tossed a kill off the block, senior Allie Kemp (36 assists, 11 digs, two aces) landed an ace, and senior Jordyn Vella (six blocks, five kills) came up with back-to-back blocks to give the Tigers the early lead and the momentum.

The lead ballooned to 14-6 when senior Jordan Bosse (11kills, two aces) landed two kills in a three-play span, and Flynn hit above the block and to the floor for a kill, forcing Barnstable to take their second timeout early in the set.

Barnstable made it interesting early by cutting the deficit to three at 14-11 but Oliver Ames answered with a 7-3 that included two blocks and kill from Vella, another ace from Kemp, and a block kill from Bosse that denied a right-side attack from the Raiders.

Oliver Ames looked primed to even the score at one apiece when it went up 24-17 behind a net call, but the Raiders showed why they are so difficult to beat with flawless play over the next six chances. Barnstable won all seven of those points, helped along by a pair of OA errors, to get within one down 24-23 but a service error allowed OA to clinch the point and the set, making it 1-1.

“That’s a great program, Chelsea has done a great job,” said longtime Barnstable coach Tom Turco, who won his 700th game with the victory. “This is probably one of the biggest sectional championships that we’ve won.”

Barnstable built an early 8-5 lead in the third set but OA wouldn’t break, responding with a 6-2 run that featured a kill and ace from Bosse and two kills from Flynn to take an 11-10 lead. The teams traded points for a good chunk of the set, with the teams tied at 11, 12. 13, and 15. Barnstable gained the slightest advantage with a quick 5-1 run as junior Caroline Kiehnau gave the Raiders a huge boost with a handful of kills off Tiger blocks.

Oliver Ames got with three on three occasions, down 21-18 after a nice tip kill from Bennett after a big dig from Alison Barth (40 digs), down 22-19 after a kill from Flynn, and down 23-20 on a nice spot push from Flynn. The Tigers even got within two at 23-21 when Sarah Morley delivered an ace and at 24-22 behind a Bosse kill, but a nice dump by the Barnstable setter on the second touch caught OA off guard for a 25-22 win in the third set.

The fourth set played out similarly to the third, but even closer throughout. Barnstable led by two early on by an ace from Bosse, two kills from Bennett, and a kill from Flynn on a nice back set from Kemp helped OA tie it at 11-11.

OA jumped in front by two on a huge block from McNeeley on an outside attack from Barnstable and a kill from Flynn for a 13-11 advantage. OA remained a point ahead while the teams traded points but Barnstable finally earned consecutive points helped by a service error to make it 20-20 to force a timeout.

“I just told them its a game to five, and I asked who’s going to get there first? They told me that they were and that’s exactly what they did,” Cunningham said. “We committed to it as one and it was awesome.”

Barnstable took three leads, 21-20, 22-21, and 23-22 but the Tigers refused to give up. Bosse and Bennett had black to back strong swings for kills, and then Bosse got a kind roll off the top of the net, falling over into Raiders’ territory for a 25-23 win, forcing a fifth set.

The experience of Barnstable paid off as they picked up an early lead. After Vella put OA up 1-0, Barnstable won eight of the next points that featured two blocks from the Raiders and two balls that fell just out of the reach of OA defenders.

The Tigers played well after the switch with Bosse getting a kill and Bennet landing a big block and a kill, but Barnstable also played well and extended its lead to 13-6. In true fashion to how they played the entire match, OA still didn’t fold as a hitting error and a double block from Vella and Flynn got the Tigers within five, down 13-8.

But Barnstable was able to grind out two more points and secure their 10th straight sectional title.

“I think [the underclassman] are even more committed to continue persevering and making these seniors proud,” Cunningham said. “I think they are ready to work hard to fill the big shoes that are leaving this program and I think next year will be just as exciting.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Meanwhile, the senior class leaves behind a lasting legacy that includes bringing the program to new heights. That group includes Jordan Bosse, Ryley McNeeley, Allie Kemp, Alison Barth, Jordyn Vella, and Mary Davenport.

“This is my first group to graduate as head coach,” Cunningham said. “I saw them as freshmen, I saw the potential, and I knew they were going to be something special and they didn’t let me down in that aspect. We’re going to miss them dearly and they know they left such a prominent and positive mark on this program. They should be nothing but proud of themselves.”

Oliver Ames volleyball finishes its best season in program history with an 18-5 record, its first-ever Kelley-Rex title, and the furthest the team has gone in program history.

Tigers Sweep Aside Durfee to Advance in Tournament

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Oliver Ames senior libero Sadie Homer had 25 digs, helping the Tigers earn a convincing sweep of Durfee in the opening round of the state tournament. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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NORTH EASTON, Mass. – Oliver Ames hosted a playoff game in the William F. Nixon Gym for the first time on Thursday night and the Tigers used the energy from the home court and the home crowd to jump all over visiting Durfee in the opening round of the state tournament.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

OA started strongly and never looked back, beating the Hilltoppers in three sets (25-18, 25-16, 25-6) to advance into the Div. 1 South quarterfinal.

“They were hungry today,” said Oliver Ames coach Chelsea Cunningham. “The fact that they knew today that if they didn’t give 100 percent then it was going to be over and that clicked definitely for the seniors and it just ricocheted down.”

“Energy-level,” said senior libero Sadie Homer when asked about what made the difference in the win. “We bounced back when we lost a point and even when we were five points ahead, we were ready to go.”

The Tigers wasted no time taking control of the first set, using its strong defense and taking advantage of Durfee’s struggles keeping the ball in play to build a 14-7 lead. OA showed off its balance in attack as well, with junior setter Allie Kemp (31 assists) spreading the ball around to several hitters. Caitlin Cavanaugh (10 kills) had two kills in the opening stretch and Mary Davenport had one.

Following a Durfee timeout, Grace McCallum had an ace, Jordan Bosse had the first of her 10 kills, and Jordan Vella had a strong hit to stymie the visitors’ momentum. Durfee got as close as five points at 18-13 but OA kept responding. Davenport finished a long rally with a quick hit from the middle and Jackie Raymond got involved with a kill.

“At the beginning of the season,” Cunningham said, “one of the previews said we were one of the most balanced teams. It’s nice to know that it’s evenly-matched, where kids will compete and I’m always looking for any competitor.”

The key to the OA attack was Kemp, who found the right pass even when she was running away from the net and managed to bump it into the right spot for Cavanaugh or Bosse to finish the play.

“She’s my No. 1,” said Cunningham about Kemp. “She’s light on her feet, she’s quick to the ball and she never gives up. We wouldn’t have the balanced offense without her.”

The Tigers jumped in front again in the second set with Bosse getting them back in front with a kill, back-to-back Cavanaugh kills extending the lead and then a Bosse ace making it 9-5. A Davenport block quickly ended a Durfee rally, but the Hilltoppers did make it close with a 7-2 run that cut the lead to just 15-14.

“We just had to do what we normally do and not choke up because that’s one of our biggest things is choke up and get tense,” said Homer about bouncing back from the Durfee rally. “We just were like let’s have fun.”

OA grabbed a stranglehold on the match with a 10-2 run to close out the second set. Vella had an ace, Bosse had a pair of kills, and the set was closed out by Caroline Flynn’s lone kill of the match.

The third set turned out to be a rout, as OA pulled away for a 25-6 win. Ryley McNeeley came off the bench to record back-to-back aces, Raymond had two kills and an ace, and Cavanaugh had four kills in the set.

On match point, Homer was able to scramble to send across a third hit near the far sideline that couldn’t be returned by the Hilltoppers. It was the only kill of the match for the senior libero, who recorded 25 digs and led the strong defensive effort from the Tigers.

“She’s that person that says you beat me this time, but now I’ll beat you the next 10 times and that’s the feistiness, that’s the fire this team needs and when she’s on our team just lights up,” Cunningham said of Homer. “They’re feeding off her.”

It was a dominating win for Oliver Ames (14-7), which now gets to take the long bus ride down the Cape to face perennial power and No. 1 seed Barnstable on Monday night. It is a considerable challenge, but the Homer recognized that it was a considerable opportunity as well.

“Franklin gave us a good challenge, so I feel like we can take what they gave us and just use that to influence our game,” said Homer. “I know if we stick together than we’re not afraid of anything, we’re just going to play. Knowing it’s playoff we’re just going to have fun with it.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Monday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 09/24/18


Today’s games are listed below.

Boys Soccer
Attleboro, 2 @ King Philip, 4 – FinalKing Philip scored three goals in the first half, overcoming a one-goal deficit, to beat Attleboro. The Warriors opened the scoring in the third minute when sophomore Ajae Olsen converted a feed from classmate Camron Lawrence. Attleboro struck back for a pair of goals to seize a 2-1 lead as Hugo Henriquez struck in the 11th minute (from Josh Smith) and Will Halben scored in the 29th minute. But KP responded quickly as Ian Zimmerman (from Gavon Fox) made it 2-2 in the 34th minute. Just before halftime, senior Tony Bozza put the hosts ahead, 3-2, in the 38th minute. Bozza added an insurance goal midway through the second off an assist from freshman Stephen Griffin.

Canton, 1 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalCanton’s Simon Cruz with just under 10 minutes to play to give the Bulldogs two points on the road.

Foxboro, 7 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalFoxboro junior Dylan Barreira exploded for six goals in the first half to pace the Warriors to a win. Nic Beigel scored the other goal for the Warriors while also recording four assists in the victory. Stoughton sophomore Nolan Gerome made his varsity debut in net, recording 19 saves for the Black Knights.

Taunton, 3 @ Franklin, 0 – FinalTaunton exploded for three goals in the second half to pick up its second straight win. Alec Nunes scored the game-winner in the 52nd minute, taking a pass from Kyle Aubin and blasting a shot from range to put the Tigers ahead 1-0. Mateusz Hagemajer scored the next two goals, first off an assist from Brett Beaulieu in the 55th minute and then unassisted in the 67th minute. THS coach Taylor Whitters said Liam Crowley and Charlie Fiske also played well for the Tigers while Nolan Melo recorded his second shutout of the season.

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Mansfield, 1 – FinalMansfield jumped ahead just moments into the second half but Oliver Ames knotted the score just over 10 minutes later as the Hornets and Tigers finished level. Junior Owen Mullahy put the hosts in front, heading in a cross in the 42nd minute. Oliver Ames’ Kevin Louhis tied the game in the 55th minute, tucking his shot inside the near post. Louhis collected a loose ball after a volley from sophomore Colin Milliken hit off the crossbar and bounced into the area.

North Attleboro, 1 @ Milford, 1 – FinalNorth Attleboro senior Joe Hilf gave the visitors the lead with a goal from distance but Milford found the equalizer midway through the second half to earn a draw at home. Hilf put Big Red ahead just over the midway point of the first half with a hard shot from distance. In the second half, Milford junior Omar Lema scored his first career goal off an assist from Walisson de Oliveira, tying the game in the 60th minute.

Girls Soccer
King Philip, 3 @ Attleboro, 0 – FinalAvery Snead scored once and assisted on another, as KP remained on top in the Kelley-Rex with the win. Makayla Griffin scored inside the opening 10 minutes, on a Snead assist, for what turned out to be the game-winner. Snead double the lead in the second half with a shot from just inside the 18 and Jenny Montville sealed the win on a through ball by Ally Stanton. Attleboro goalie Tayla Drape made 12 saves to keep the Bombardiers in the game and earned praise from both coaches.

Canton, 5 @ Sharon, 0 – Final

Stoughton, 0 @ Foxboro, 7 – FinalFoxboro senior Kenzi Fraser exploded for four goals and one assist to lead the Warriors to a big win at home. Jordyn Collins, Kendra Wentling, and Lizzy Davis (goal) all had an assist while Kailee McCabe scored off a feed from Fraser. Freshman Kaitryn Franchino capped with the scoring with an unassisted tally.

Franklin, 4 @ Taunton, 0 – FinalSydney St. Marie scored a pair of goals, Calen Frongillo had a pair of assists and Hailey Toolin had a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Stella Regan also had a goal and Sabrina Addi had an assist in the win.

Milford @ North Attleboro – Postponed to date and time TBD.

Mansfield, 1 @ Oliver Ames, 0 – FinalSteph Kemp scored the only goal of the game to keep Mansfield unbeaten in the league this season. For Oliver Ames, head coach Britt Sellmayer said Emma O’Donnell had a great game in net and credited Anna Tempestoso and Abby Hodges with strong games.

Field Hockey
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 7 – FinalAlli Meehan scored a hat trick to lead the Warriors to a win. Meghan MacDonald, Claire Lawler, Kate Lindmark, and Nicole Connor also scored for KP. Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Canton, 6 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalCanton’s Maggie Malloy scored a hat trick as the Bulldogs rolled on the road at Sharon. Shannon Crowley and Beth Oldenburg each scored once while Allie Gefteas scored her first career goal in Canton’s win.

Foxboro, 3 @ Stoughton, 0 – FinalLily Daly scored a pair of goals and assisted on a third as Foxboro notched a win on the road over Stoughton. Daly scored two goals in the first half as Foxboro took a 2-0 lead into halftime. In the second half, Daly set up Jamie Notarangelo for the third goal.

Taunton, 2 @ Franklin, 2 – FinalTaunton rallied from a 2-0 deficit to grab a point on the road with the draw. Goals from Cassi Ronan (from Regan Paterson) and Amanda Lewandowski (from Stephanie Bell) put the Panthers ahead 2-0 at halftime. But Taunton scored twice in the second, tying the game with 10 minutes to go. Lauren Torres (from Jillian Pagliuca) made it a one goal game and then Alana Tavares tied the game. Emma Sheehan had five saves in net for the Tigers. THS head coach Liz Hathaway praised the work of her defense, including Skylar Rheaume, who made a big defensive save for Taunton.

Oliver Ames, 1 @ Mansfield, 4 – Final

North Attleboro @ Milford, 3:45

Volleyball
Attleboro, 0 @ King Philip, 3 – FinalKing Philip defended home court with a 3-0 (25-10, 25-13, 25-14) sweep over Attleboro. For King Philip, Kat Kmetz had four kills, two aces, and 10 service points, Catherine Waldeck and Kristen Masse each added three kills, and Jessie Kornfeld and Shalya Weitzman each chipped in with three aces.

Canton, 3 @ Sharon, 0 – FinalCanton went on the road and earned a 3-0 sweep (25-15, 25-17, 25-21) behind a strong all-around team performance. Nicole Brown continued to lead the Bulldogs, finishing with 18 assists, 18 digs, five kills, and an ace while Taylor Harris added seven kills, five aces, and nine digs, and Theresa O’Brien chipped in while six kills and an ace. Freshman Sydney Gallery added three kills in her first full varsity set.

Foxboro, 0 @ Stoughton, 3 – FinalStoughton notched its fourth win of the season with a 3-0 sweep (25-20, 25-16, 25-14) of visiting Foxboro. Mia Bennett was strong in the back row with 34 digs, Sasha Hyacinthe and Amaya Morris led the offense combining for 17 kills, Hanna Holden had 18 assists, and Molly Turner had a well rounded game of 15 assists, eight kills, and five aces.

Taunton, 0 @ Franklin, 3 – Final

North Attleboro, 1 @ Milford, 3 – Final

Oliver Ames, 3 @ Mansfield, 0 – Final Oliver Ames fended off a furious rally attempt from Mansfield in the first set and went on to earn the sweep (26-24, 25-14, 25-20). For OA, senior Sadie Homer led the way with 21 digs, senior Sarah Litwack added 17 assists, junior Jordan Bosse finished with 10 kills, senior Grace McCallum chipped in with seven aces, and junior Mary Davenport had a strong game in the middle. For Mansfield, Greenly Kelly and Katie Dardinski each had eight service points while Emily Dardinski paced the offense with nine kills.

Golf
Sharon, 162 @ Oliver Ames, 145 – FinalOliver Ames’ Liam Barry earned medalist honors with a low-round of 35 as the Tigers handed Sharon its first loss of the season. Thomas Walsh and Tate Hadges each cared a 36 while Nolan Donze shot a 38 at Pine Oaks.

Taunton, 181 @ Mansfield, 167 – FinalSophomore Nathan Morreale shot a team-low round of 41 while three other Hornets shot 42 in a win over Taunton at Norton Country Club. Sophomores Jason See, Ava Haggis and Joseph Gormley rounded out Mansfield’s scoring each with a 42.

North Attleboro, 165 @ Milford, 179 – FinalNorth Attleboro senior Marcus Costa shot a low-round of 38 to earn medalist honors and pace the Rocketeers on the road. Matt Wanless added a 41 for Big Red while Jillian Barend carded a round of 42.