Young Senators keep it close

  • Erika Anderson, left, of South Hadley, hits against Ava Liberty, of Mahar, Thursday at South Hadley High School. Julia Pratt looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Mahar players Quincey Drew, front left, and Ava Liberty can't handle a South Hadley hit, Thursday at South Hadley High School. South Hadley players Jayna Schaarschmidt, top, and Taylor Jackson look on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kayla Simon, right, of South Hadley, blocks a hit by Saylor Kegans, of Mahar, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019 at South Hadley High School.

Staff Writer
Published: 11/1/2019 2:58:40 PM
Modified: 11/1/2019 2:58:26 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — A couple set comebacks came up short for the Mahar Regional volleyball team in a 3-0 loss to South Hadley in the Western Mass. Division 3 first round on Thursday night.

The ninth-seeded Senators fell to South Hadley, 25-17, 28-26 and 25-22.

In both the second and third set, the Senators erased deficits to pull even but could not finish off the Tigers to grab a set victory.

Kayla Simon’s big kill set up the No. 9 Tigers with a 19-13 lead in the second set.

Mahar made a strong comeback, battling all the way back to even at 26-26 but South Hadley scored two straight to take the set.

“I think the momentum would have shifted a little bit,” Mahar coach Sarah Woodward said.

In the third set, which proved decisive, Mahar fell behind early but evened things up at 22-22 before South Hadley took over again.

South Hadley will travel to play No. 1 Lee High School on Monday in the quarterfinals.

Madison Harrington sprawled all over the floor for the Senators and finished with 11 assists with two aces.

Quincey Drew led Mahar with eight kills and added six aces with three digs.

Errors of all varieties were a problem for Mahar, and they seemed to happen at the most inopportune of times.

“We made way too many errors,” Woodward said. “Way too many service errors. Can’t win anything with that many errors. Offensive errors, hitting errors. We can play better than this.”

The young Senator team will look to the future now without a senior on the roster.

“We can get better,” Woodward said. “Next year we will come back stronger and better. I’ve got a lot of kids that have never played in a playoff match. This is their first time being here.”

Erika Anderson’s kill gave the Tigers a 8-7 lead in the first set. Then Julia Pratt’s service stretched the lead to 13-7.

The lead then moved to 19-11 before Mahar closed the gap with a four-point run with Deanna Smith on the end line.

The Tigers then closed out the set with a Kate Walas kill, giving South Hadley a 24-17 lead before a hitting error by Mahar closed it out.

After an even start to the second set, an emphatic kill by Walas put South Hadley ahead 14-10.

Makayla Mathurin and Hailie Meeker both missed the match for the Senators with injuries.

“I couldn’t really make any subs,” Woodward said. “If I subbed my other girl in and someone got hurt or something happened, I wouldn’t have enough players to put on the floor.”

Mahar faced a deep South Hadley team with only two substitutes.

The Senators featured a transported student section from Orange with signs and facepaint in support of the team.

Ava Liberty chipped in with five kills and four digs while Saylor Kegan added six kills.

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