Division 2 girls volleyball: Minnechaug sweeps Amherst in semifinals

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Amherst Regional girls volleyball team couldn’t figure out Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Division 2 Tournament semifinals Thursday.

The second-seeded Hurricanes lost 25-15, 25-18, 25-22 to the No. 3 Falcons.

Amherst (15-5) lost for the third time this season to the Falcons (15-6), who advance to play top-seeded Longmeadow (16-4) in the finals, Saturday at Holyoke Community College.

“We had a great crowd and great energy,” Amherst coach Kacey Schmitt said. “We just haven’t matched up well with Minnechaug.”

The Falcons’ height in the middle of the court, and overall quickness were a problem for the Hurricanes.

“We had a lot of trouble blocking their middle players,” Schmitt said.

It was the last match for seniors Claire Basler-Chang, Amina Torres, Teya Nolan, Evelyn Foster, Natalie Elliot, Sahar Douglas and Lacey Dalkas.

“I am really proud of them and the kind of team they were,” Schmitt said. “It’s a disappointing end. They had hopes of showing what they could do in the finals.”

Against Minnechaug, Basler-Chang had 10 kills and 18 digs. Nolan added 11 digs and 20 assists.

Elliot led Amherst with three aces, while sophomore Jen Hodgkins added eight digs.

As juniors, the group helped the Hurricanes go undefeated en route to a Western Mass. championship. As seniors they brought a unique balance of sprit and skill to the floor.

“I thought last year would be hard to top,” Schmitt said. “But it was a pay-it-forward situation.”

This year’s unit jelled as a result of following the lead of last year’s seniors.

“They learned how to be a cohesive team from last year’s seniors,” Schmitt said. “The spirit and enthusiasm was remarkable. There were few days when people were down.”

Nolan finished with over 1,000 assists for her career.

Basler-Chang is among the best hitters in program history. During her career she had over 600 kills and 700 digs.