WORCESTER — Facing a staunch challenger in No. 2 Bellingham (20-4), No. 1 Ipswich (23-0) proved its mettle and capped off an undefeated season. The Tigers defeated Bellingham, 3-2, at Worcester State University to seize their third straight Div. 4 women volleyball title.
“I was a freshman when I watched the team win a state championship for the first time. My dream was to win a state championship and just winning two, I never imagined that would happen to me,” stated junior Allison Pillis on her workforce’s title victory
Bellingham opened the primary set with a 22-19 lead, forcing Ipswich to name timeout. Ipswich then went on a 4-1 run to tie the set at 23-23. The groups traded factors and tied the set once more at 25. A spike by the center from Pillis and mis-hit out of bounds from Bellingham allowed Ipswich to finish the rally and take the primary set, 27-25.
Bellingham stormed again within the second set. Again, they took a lead within the set at 17-13. After a timeout, Ipswich responded with a 4-1 run to chop the deficit to 18-17. Bellingham answered with a 6-1 run of their very own, thanks partially to a pair of aces from Sophia Soto, to push the result in 24-18. Unlike the primary set, Bellingham held off a desperation run from Ipswich to take the second set 25-21.
In the third set, Bellingham as soon as once more took an early lead, 17-13. Ipswich answered the bell as soon as extra with a 6-1 run and took the lead at 19-18. The groups traded factors to tie at 25-25 till Bellingham closed the door with back-to-back factors, ending on an emphatic Taylor Callery kill.
Facing a 2-1 set deficit, Ipswich turned the tables on Bellingham and cruised within the fourth set, taking an early 16-7 lead. They held off a late Blackhawks surge to get a wanted win and push the match to the fifth set.
“That’s one great thing about volleyball: it can pretty segmented if you allow it to be. Set change it’s zero – zero and a lot of things can happen in terms of momentum,” stated Ipswich coach Staci Lawrence.
“We knew it was going to be a long game,” added Pillis, “Our energy really persevered and the key to our game is really our energy. We knew this was our last game and we had to end the season with no regrets.”
Ipswich maintained its momentum within the fifth, establishing a 10-7 lead. Pillis stepped up once more with essential kills down the stretch, serving to the Tigers to a 15-9 set win and the Div. 4 state title.