Dartmouth volleyball advances to playoff semi-final for first time ever
The Dartmouth high volleyball team (4) is going to the final four of the Division II playoff tournament for the first time in school history after taking down Masconomet (12) at home on Friday, Nov. 11.
“This is history — the second time we’ve made history [this season],” said head coach Rachel Lassey, explaining that the team has never made it past the Elite Eight before, or beaten Barnstable as they did earlier this year.
The Indians won the game in three-straight sets, as they have in both their previous playoff victories.
“We have yet to lose a set in the playoffs so it’s insane to think that it’s possible to do that,” said senior Erynn Jasparro. “We’re such a versatile team and knowing that we can take it all the way is just such a crazy thing.”
When asked how they’ve managed to keep their opponents scoreless so consistently, senior captain Lauren Augusto said it’s been a team effort.
“I really think it’s mostly our communication and our hard work,” she said. “I mean these girls work so hard at practice every single day and we just gel so well as a team. So being able to trust each other is really what’s been able to fire us up and keep us going.”
Though they never gave up a set, the win against Masconomet did not come easy, as the visitors kept the scores close throughout the game.
“It was an awesome game,” said Lassey. “They were very good. They were tall. But I’m so glad my girls stayed confident and got the job done. They didn’t let up.”
During the third set, Masconomet began to turn the momentum of the game in its favor, scoring several unanswered points to tie the set and causing Lassey to call a rare timeout to get her girls back on track.
“It wasn’t easy. they gave us a run,” she said. “I had to call a timeout, I don't like having to call a timeout.”
The team fought back though, making some amazing diving saves that brought them back in the game.
“You just have to trust your body. You don’t even think about it at this point, your body just knows what it needs to do,” Augusto said, when asked about the team’s athleticism in clutch moments. “We don’t care if we hurt ourselves flying all over the court, we just do what we need to do.”
With the win in the bag, Dartmouth will now move on to play the top-ranked team in the tournament, Westborough, who knocked the Indians out of last year’s playoffs in the Elite Eight.
But the Indians are not going to shy away from the competition, and believe that a healthier roster could give them the edge they need to turn the tables this year.
“I think we’re really hungry this time,” said Augusto. “I mean last year half our team was sick… So I think since we’ve got a fire lit under us right now we have a really good shot of beating them this time.”
“We’re gonna come back even stronger, even harder,” she said. “We have our whole team with us this time so it’s gonna be a really good game. I’m really excited.”
The game against Westborough will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at a neutral location that has yet to be determined.