Volleyball Makes Shocking Comeback to Advance in Post Season


Senior Captain Digs up the Ball to the Setter.

Stephanie Sem


Senior Captain Digs up the Ball to the Setter.
Senior Captain Digs up the Ball to the Setter.

After two losses in the first two matches against Dartmouth, Walpole Volleyball knew the third match of their game could be their last game of the season. The fifth seeded Rebels persevered — even though they were down 24-21 in the third match — as they battled back to beat fourth seeded Dartmouth 3-2 in the second round of playoffs on November 6, 2012.

The start of the first match proved that the two teams were equal in strength. Dartmouth had a slight lead during the entire first match; however, this did not discourage the Rebels because every point was a battle. At first, the Rebels had a hard time covering Dartmouth’s middle hitter, Lauren Pires. She scored numerous points by hitting and tipping balls over Walpole’s front row and finding a few vulnerable areas between Walpole’s front and back rows. Halfway through the first match, Walpole adjusted. Walpole’s right-back, junior, Moira Crowley, moved from the back up to the ten foot line, and the other two back row players split the rest of the back row. While this adjustment did not save the first match (Dartmouth narrowly won 25-23), Walpole was successful early on in defending against Dartmouth’s top offensive player.

In the second match, Walpole made another adjustment to try to throw off Pires. Coach Lisa Cyr switched Morgan McLenan and Summer King, so King would match up against Pires at the net. With a team-high of 9 blocks in the game, King definitely rose to the challenge. McLenan was not far behind King with 8 blocks total for the game. Unfortunately though, the Walpole players were not aggressive enough in the second game. They stopped diving, sat on their heels, and looked were not confident, and subsequently lost another close match 27-25.

During the third match, Dartmouth began exhibiting confidence as they neared a victorious third set, but the Rebels began to rally. The Rebels managed to come back when Dartmouth only needed one more point to end Walpole’s season, with a score of 24-21. Senior captain, Steph Barmakian said, “It really hit the seniors that it could be over in the middle of game three and I think all of the memories just kind of came back when Dartmouth had their game point.” This made the Rebels turn the mood of the game around and work hard to make sure it was not the senior’s last game. Senior captain Lauren Bodin served for five consecutive points and ended the match with a kill from King, with a score of 26-24.

The Rebels energy was up in the fourth match.  Everything they were doing wrong, that lost them points in the first two games, they started to do right and gained points.  Junior, Tori Webber, was reading where Pires was going to hit the ball so she was able to make multiple digs that she could not get in the start of the game.  Walpole held their lead they took early on in the game, leading to a 25-18 Walpole win in the match. 

The Rebels found themselves tied to Dartmouth 2-2, with 15 points deciding whether they would be in semi-finals or it would be the end of their season.  With this knowledge, the Rebels gave the match all they had because no one was ready for their season to be over.  The Rebels held the lead throughout the whole match, however, when a player got down after giving up a couple points, a teammate was always their to pick everyone back up with a strong play earning them another point.  The Rebels only needed one more point with the score 14-10 when senior, Sydney King, got a kill and secured the Walpole victory at 15-10.

After being down two games and one point away from the end of the Rebels season, Walpole managed to steal the game away from Dartmouth and win 3-2, ending Dartmouth’s season.  The Rebels shocked everyone, even themselves with their come back, Bodin said, “This win meant so much to me. It could have been my last career volleyball game ever, and I’m just so fortunate to have a team that realized this and pull it together to win it for their seniors.”  The Rebels plan on fighting like they did in the last three matches in their game on Thursday, November 8 against New Bedford, who is seeded at number one.