AMHERST – It was only fitting that in 2020, a meeting of two unbeatens – – the Westfield and Amherst high school girls volleyball teams – – would play outdoors for the first time in the teams’ history.
In Amherst’s lone home match of the volleyball season due to coronavirus restrictions, it was Westfield that emerged with the “W.” The Bombers defeated the Hurricanes 25-19, 19-25, 25-20, 26-24.
“It was a significant win with the year that it is and it being an outdoor match,” Westfield Bombers girls volleyball coach Tyler Wingate said. “It was quite the experience – – a good match of volleyball between two really good teams.”
While the conditions for a volleyball match typically just involve a stuffy gymnasium, it was still a fairly ideal situation Monday with overcast skies and minimal wind on Amherst’s make-shift grass court. Amherst (2-1), which is practicing outside at their high school all season, is playing all of its matches on the road, save for Monday’s lone featured outdoor match at home.
Coach Wingate said the challenge of playing outdoors involved controlling the ball, and playing the ball a bit more off the net.
“Both teams had to make the adjustment,” he said. “We were a bit more conservative in some respects.”
Seniors Irelis Rodriguez and Viktoria Pavlyuk delivered incredible performances for Westfield (4-0). Rodriguez racked up a whopping 16 kills and 29 digs; Pavlyuk landed 17 kills and 13 digs.
Westfield junior Abigail Menzel contributed 35 assists and six digs; Bombers junior Emma Petzold finished with six kills and 2.5 blocks.
Four matches into the season, Westfield already looks like a contender as Western Massachusetts’ best team. Unfortunately with no postseason, the regular season results are all that will stand the test of time.
“This group of girls definitely would have been a team in contention fo Western Mass.,” coach Wingate said. “We had high expectations for this group this year … but without a postseason it is what it is. We are approaching each match just thankful to be playing. …We don’t know what’s down the road. We are playing each match to the best of our abilities.”
Tigers avenge early season loss, shut out Gators
Westfield Technical Academy 1, Gateway 0
HUNTINGTON – The Westfield Technical Academy girls soccer team saved the best for last.
Senior captain Jess Bush scored the game’s only goal with two minutes remaining on the clock Monday and the Westfield Technical Academy Tigers held off the Gateway Gators 1-0.
Senior Amanda Garstka assisted on the Westfield Tech goal.
Westfield Tech freshman keeper Lindsey Deland had another outstanding performance, stopping all 15 Gateway shots on goal.
“I’m really impressed with my team,” said Westfield Tech girls soccer coach Lyle Washington, whose team bounced back from an early season loss to Gateway. The Gators shut out the Tigers 4-0 in the season opener.
Westfield Tech will look to extend its good fortune this week when it takes on St. Mary’s Thursday at Bullens Field. The Tigers lost to the Saints earlier this season 3-0.
Bombers bounce Blue Devils
Westfield 7, Northampton 0
Jack Keeney, Jack Fortier, and T.J. Liquori tallied two goals and one assist apiece as Westfield bulldozed Northampton 7-0. Dominic Rinaldi scored the other Bombers’ goal and had one assist. Jack Demarinis and Michael Liquori each had an assist. It was Liquori’s first varsity point.
Said Westfield coach Andrew Joseph: “We took care of business.”
The Bombers next task: a road match Thursday night at Hampshire.
Garrity helps Rams chase Terriers
Southwick 173, West Springfield 180
Southwick improved to 4-3 with a gold-medal performance from the match’s top golfer at Springfield Country Club. Rams’ Matthew Garrity shot a 2-over par 35.
Andrew Morris (42), Jesse Johnson (45), and Matt Coviello (49) were instrumental in orchestrating the Rams’ victory.
Cards deal Saints a loss; Cusack leads STM
Pope Francis 158, St. Mary’s 187
Pope Francis’s Ryan Leonard shot a match-best 38 as three Cardinals all finished in the 30s to lead their team to victory at Tekoa Country Club.
Cam Cusack led St. Mary’s with a 45. Saints’ Manny Umana and Ryan Sweeney finished with a 46 and 47, respectively. Collin Freeman had a 49.