Mulry, Lancers bow out

Longmeadow High School girls’ volleyball coach George Mulry, of Westfield stands alongside his team during the national anthem in Saturday’s Division II state title game. (Photo by Chris Putz)

NORTHBORO – All good things must come to an end.
Such was the case for the Longmeadow High School girls’ volleyball team as the Lancers fell to the Melrose in the Division II state championship 3-1 Saturday at Algonquin Regional High School in Northboro.
The Red Raiders won the championship title 25-17, 24-26, 25-19, 25-11.
“They are absolutely the best team in the state,” said Longmeadow coach George Mulry, who resides in Westfield. “They play incredible volleyball. It was difficult trying to break through. They had the right stuff this year.”
“Hey at least we were responsible for 25 percent of their set losses this year,” the Lancers coach said jokingly.
“We took some good swings,” he added. “We had some good stuff. The ball wouldn’t fall for us. But finally, it did.”
Melrose came out swinging, going up by a half-dozen points early, and never relenting. But Longmeadow had an answer.
In the second set, Longmeadow’s, behind the solid serves of senior Amanda Tyler, took a 5-0 lead. Tyler had an ace for the fifth point, forcing a Melrose timeout.
The Red Raiders stormed back late to it at 24-all. The Lancers scored the final two points to tie the game at 1 set apiece.
In the third frame, Longmeadow fell behind early by six points, but rallied to within three, 13-10. Melrose quickly tacked on a few more points to reclaim a six-point advantage and held on by the same advantage.
In the fourth, the Red Raiders pulled away.
“Melrose kept chipping away,” coach Mulry said. “They serve well, hit well, and have a terrific setter. These guys are a whole different breed. They’ll tip the ball, hit it across the court or go line.”
It was a long, glorious postseason run for Longmeadow after a brief hiccup during the regular season, which included a loss to Minnechaug.

Longmeadow’s Amanda Tyler (9) hits the ball against the Melrose defense. (Photo by Chris Putz)

Longmeadow swept seventh-seeded Westfield in three straight sets to begin the Western Mass. tournament, before taking down No. 3 Agawam 3-1 in the semifinals. Finally, the Lancers defeated top-seeded Minnechaug 3-2 to win their sixth straight championship.
Longmeadow (19-4) next knocked off South champ Fairhaven 3-2 to reach its first-ever state finals berth.
“We’re peaking right now,” Mulry said. “I think if you give us one more week, we would be right there.”
Jennifer Hurwitz (17 kills, 10 digs), Tyler (11 kills), and Rachel Kofman (30 assists) led Longmeadow in its final game.
Notes: Senior outside hitter Jen Hurwitz and senior setter Rachel Kofman will represent Longmeadow in the inaugural Spalding Western Massachusetts Girls’ High School All-Star game Tuesday night at the William J. Dean gymnasium located at 1045 Main Street in Holyoke. First serve is 6:30 p.m. One of the sponsors includes the Volleyball Hall of Fame. …Westfield senior Abby Hart and Southwick senior Simone Thibault were also named to the All-Star team, and will compete on Tuesday. …Mulry is the executive director of the Volleyball Hall of Fame.

To Top