Volleyball Advances To Elite 8 In MIAA State Tournament
David Creed •
Photography by David Creed
It was a tremendous scene at Nantucket High School Monday night, with two excellent volleyball teams squaring off for the right to advance to the Elite 8 in the Div. 4 MIAA state tournament. The #7 seeded Nantucket Whalers ultimately came out victorious and knocked off the Blackstone Valley Beavers 3-1
Whaler head coach Andrew Viselli said he was proud of his team’s effort, reiterating a similar message as he did following their win over Assabet Valley in the Round of 32: a win is a win and they live to fight another day.
The sets were as followed:
Viselli said he felt his team showed some early game jitters in the first set before narrowly winning it.
“Then in the second set it was like ‘here we go again’ but they stopped it and they played, then it was about making those adjustments and they did,” he said.
The Whalers dominated in set three to take a 2-1 lead in the match. Viselli said senior outside hitter Kacey Riseborough was “amazing” in this set and the match as a whole.
“She was unbelievable tonight. She was amazing,” Viselli said. “I just said to her this is the best match she has ever played. She dropped three bombs and missed them out of bounds by one ince. That is beautiful and I will take that every single time. Moving her feet, digging balls. Errors happen, we all have errors. She literally said I can and I will, and she did it. To see that happen is a wonderful thing.”
The Whalers barely hung on for a set four victory but ultimately prevailed. Viselli believes his team has the confidence and believability in their skillsets that is allowing them to minimize their errors, snap themselves out of skids, and rally to take back control of sets they may not be initially winning.
“My observation is they believe in themselves and they believe in the girl next to them,” Viselli said. “They say ‘she has got it. We can do this.’ They are good and if you are good and don’t believe you are good, that is how you play. But if you are good and believe you are good, that is how you play. I am starting to see the belief.”
He gave a hat tip to the crowd in attendance and is thankful his players have the opportunity to play in front of crowds like this one.
“Love the crowd. Love the crowd,” Viselli said. “I have been in a lot of gyms. I have been in a lot of schools. I’ve had some raucous crowds. I’ve faced some raucous crowds. This is a really good crowd.”
“For these kids to see that is pretty awesome. To come see a sport that nobody knows anything about, it is pretty awesome. We are blessed to have great fans and parents and an athletic director and sports coverage. It is pretty cool.”
The Whalers will now take their tournament run on the road where they will face the #2 seeded Lynnfield Pioneers. The Pioneers are 19-3 this season and have yet to lose a set in the tournament, beating South Shore Christian Academy and Rockland 3-0 each. That game is scheduled for Thursday, November 10 at 2 p.m. Lynnfield has won eight matches in a row and has a 10-2 record at home this season.
There were also some notable milestones that were hit during Monday’s game.
Chloe Marrero had her 500th career kill (200th this season) as did Kacey Riseborough.
Vicky Todorova secured her 400th dig on the season and now has 600 digs in her career.