High Schools: Turners Falls bounces back with sweep of Mahar

  • Mahar’s Makayla Mathurin serves against Turners Falls in the third set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Emily Young passes off a serve from Mahar in the second set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Taylor Greene sets the ball against Mahar in the second set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen, left, gets a kill over Mahar’s Saylor Kegans in the second set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Abby Henne serves against Turners Falls in the third set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Saylor Kegans (21), left, hits over Turners Falls’ Cady Wozniak (17) and Abi Holloway (8) in the third set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Mahar’s Abby Henne serves against Turners Falls in the third set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Taylor Greene (1), right, hits against Mahar in the second set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

  • Turners Falls’ Madi Liimatainen serves against Mahar in the third set Thursday in Orange. FOR THE RECORDER/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 4/15/2021 9:15:16 PM
Modified: 4/15/2021 9:15:13 PM

ORANGE — It was the bounce-back performance coach Kelly Liimatainen and the Turners Falls girls volleyball team were looking for.

After falling to Frontier on Wednesday, the Thunder were hoping to respond by getting out to a quick start on Thursday on the road against Mahar. 

Turners found its rhythm midway through the first set and kept that momentum throughout, eventually resulting in a 3-0 triumph over the Senators. 

“It feels a lot better,” Thunder captain Emily Young said. “[Wednesday’s match] was so defeating. We knew Frontier had nine seniors and we knew they were going to play so coming in we were very nervous because they’re always good competition. Today was nice to get everyone back and playing. We felt a lot better after starting up and getting in a rhythm.” 

Young finished with seven assists and a pair of aces in the victory for Turners. Stephanie Peterson scored nine aces and a kill while Madi Liimatainen recorded six kills and six aces. 

Saylor Kegans had five kills and an ace in the loss for Mahar, with Keanna Thompson tossing six assists to go along with a kill. Haleigh Benoit added two aces and a kill.

The two teams were tied 10-10 in the first set, but a series of service runs put the Thunder up 19-14. Turners then tallied the next six points to take the set, with Peterson at the service line for all six points. 

Kelly Liimatainen said she wanted to see her team pass the ball well, and they began finding a rhythm in that department during the first set. 

“We just wanted to pass the ball well,” Liimatainen said. “That was our main focus. We weren’t passing well in the beginning and we came out kind of flat then we started getting the hang of it. Once we started passing the ball everything started clicking together.” 

The second set played out much the same as the first, with the score tied at 11 before a pair of service runs by Olivia Stafford and Young pushed the Thunder ahead, ultimately leading to a 25-17 set victory. 

The energy gained from back-to-back set wins carried into the third set for the Thunder, which raced out to a 20-5 lead before ending the match with a 25-9 victory. 

“We’re really young,” Liimatainen said, “but we work really well together. Once one girl starts doing well they all kind of feed off that. This season has been a lot different but fun. These guys are working really hard. They’re really young but they really click together. Even though it’s a crazy season they still want to win.” 

It’s been a challenging season for Mahar, which has dealt with losing multiple players and missing over a week of practice due to COVID protocols. 

With it being a shorter, compressed season, simply getting time on the practice court has been difficult. 

“We haven’t really practiced and we played seven games in a row without practicing,” Senators coach Sarah Woodward said. “We lost a couple starters and had to change positions around so it’s hard when you don’t practice and work on those new positions.”

Despite the challenges, Woodward said her team continues to improve and has made strides this week playing four matches in just four days. 

“It’s been rough at times but the more we keep it positive, the better it is for everyone all around,” Woodward said. “They’re doing a good job. We’ve gotten progressively better. When we came back from our week-and-a-half off it was rough but [Wednesday] and today we played a lot better than we have been playing. Everyone has improved a lot and that’s all we can ask for.” 

Not having a postseason to look forward to is disappointing for Turners, but hope remains high for the future of the program. 

“It’s been a really short season,” Young said. “I think we would have done really well in a tournament. We have no seniors so next year we’ll have the same team and hopefully we can get to tournament and push through and make something happen.”

FC Tech 3, Mohawk Trail 2 — The Warriors battled back from an 0-2 deficit to force a decisive fifth set, but Franklin Tech held on late to secure a 25-12, 25-15, 22-25, 22-25, 15-19 victory on Thursday.

Maggie Charlton led the Eagles with eight aces and a kill, while Lea Chapman paced the offensive attack with four kills, eight aces and a kill. Madison Brodeur added an ace, two kills and three digs and Madison Jackson made four digs and a kill in the win. 

Octavia Crawford recorded seven kills, 10 assists, nine aces and one dig in an impressive all-around performance for Mohawk Trail. Elly Patnode had five kills to go along with a trio of assists and aces, Sophie Guy finished with six kills, three digs and three aces and Alex Lilly added seven digs, a kill and an ace in the loss. 


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