Dartmouth High volleyball moves on in divisional tournament

Nov 4, 2021

After a two year gap in postseason play, the Dartmouth High volleyball team is moving on in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association Division 2 fall tournament after beating Dracut High in three sets on Nov. 4.

“It was too close for comfort,” Head Coach Rachel Lassey said of the match. “We didn’t one hundred percent settle in, but we managed.”

Dartmouth began the first set down 3-0, following up with eight unanswered points of their own. After an offensive surge from the Middies, the Indians would take the set 25-21.

Things remained close through the second set, with Dartmouth outscoring Dracut 25-20 after some back-and-forth rallies.

After starting the third set down 6-2, the Indians got back into their typical groove and finished off the Middies 25-15.

“We made way too many mistakes,” Lassey said. “Fortunately, they know how to execute in tough situations and do what they need to do.” 

Lassey attributes the close match to “first game jitters.” She noted that this year’s squad, which went 15-3 on the season, has very few players with any playoff experience due to last year’s shortened and tournament-less Covid-era season.

“I kind of forget that they’ve never played in a tournament before,” she said. “I’m hopeful this is behind us and we can come out more confident in Game 2.”

The coach said she plans to bring some more noise and intensity to the team’s upcoming practice in order to get them more adjusted to the playoff atmosphere.

“It’s a little bit weird to adjust to, but you have to learn to feed off that noise and use it to your advantage,” said senior captain Sorelle Lawton. 

The outside hitter managed to get six kills, four aces, 12 service points, and eight digs in her first-ever full postseason game. Lawton’s previous experience was coming off the bench as a sophomore in the Indians’ loss to Oliver Ames in the 2019 Division 1 semi-finals.

Junior captain Ava Crane had 16 kills on the night, along with 22 digs. Crane was also one of the few players this year with playoff experience, playing as a freshman in the 2019 squad.

She said while things were shaky at times, it’s a good learning experience as the team prepares for their next match.

“We just have to work together a little more to get some of that extra confidence,” Crane said.

The girls are looking forward to moving on in the competition, with many feeling like the win over Dracut is just the start of something special.

“We have a really good group of girls — we’re all really close,” Lawton said. “I feel like we can take things pretty far this year.”  

The Indians will go on to host Canton High in the Round of 16 on Nov. 9 at 6:30 p.m.