Easthampton stops Sabis to complete sweep in girls volleyball season opener

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  • Meghan Teague, right, of Easthampton, hits against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • The Easthampton team celebrates a point during their 3-0 win against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton players Delima Fournier, second from left, and Annika Devine, top, defend a hit by Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Easthampton coach Molly Jacobson shouts instructions during her team's 3-0 win against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Annika Devine, top, of Easthampton, hits against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. Bryce Nelson looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Bryce Nelson, of Easthampton, digs the ball against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kaylee Powers, of Easthampton, digs the ball against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Rina Damon, of Easthampton, sets the ball against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. Coach Molly Jacobson looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Skylar Raskevitz, center, of Easthampton, digs the ball against Sabis amid teammates Bryce Nelson, from left, Maddie Parrish and Kaylee Powers, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Annika Devine, top, of Easthampton, hits against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. Brianna Santiago looks on. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Kaylee Powers, of Easthampton, digs the ball against Sabis, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019 at Easthampton High School. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

Staff Writer
Published: 9/4/2019 10:21:17 PM

EASTHAMPTON — Things had a chance to go south late in the third set for the Easthampton girls volleyball team.

The Eagles surrendered a 7-0 run to Sabis and were on the cusp of having to play a fourth set.

Then the momentum flipped. Senior Annika Devine had a kill from the middle of the front line to stop the run. From that point on, Easthampton played fantastic team defense to win the set and the match; 25-23, 25-18, 26-24.

“I think it was terrific that we were able to sweep and take that third set,” Easthampton coach Molly Jacobson said. “I put in a whole new offense in the third, so it was a little bit risky, but I’m super proud that they stepped up and did what they do best. ... The difference in the game was serving and serve-receive. We were clearly the better passing team. We pass every day, so it is good to see that pays off for us.”

The match was Easthampton’s season opener. Senior Kaylee Powers finished the match with six kills, four aces and nine digs. Devine finished with six kills, an ace and 10 digs.

Powers stood out in many phases of the game. She had back-to-back aces midway through the second set to extend the Eagles’ lead, she laid out several times defensively to keep plays alive and she spiked the match-winning kill.

“Nothing hit the ground around her without her going after it,” Jacobson said. “She had so many ESPN highlight digs. It’s been a long time coming for her. It’s her senior year and she has put in her time the last three years. She hasn’t had much significant varsity time, but she is ready this year.”

The Eagles are inexperienced as only two starters from last year’s squad are back. A lot of players got their first experience starting on varsity Wednesday night.

“I have so many girls that can play every position,” Jacobson said. “Honestly, whoever is playing the best could play any position out there.”

Devine set the tone in the first set with a couple of blocks and kills. Senior Bryce Nelson played well from the service line in the opening stanza. Easthampton was rolling, but unforced errors helped Sabis string points together. After a timeout, the Eagles played sound defense and rallied back to close out the set.

“I think one of the most important things the team has been doing well is helping each other get back up,” Powers said. “Say we lose a point and we are down, we always help each other to get back up; just get out of that head zone that is difficult to get out of sometimes. Us working together as a team is what really helps us win these games.”

Powers played well in the second set, serving back-to-back aces and laying out to keep plays alive. Skyler Raskevitz also had an ace and played well defensively. She finished the match with nine digs.

The third set was back and forth until Sabis’ run, but the Eagles were able to buckle down and earn a sweep.

Devine is set to be the team’s go-to middle hitter this season, but moving forward, the program is looking for another person to comfortably fill the other middle spot, and their is no shortage of contenders.

“Annika Devine is super strong in the middle, but I think in my other middle position I’m really looking for someone to fill that spot,” Jacobson said. “I’ve been working here and there with some people. Everybody loves to hit and be a good hitter and they work on it daily in practice, but it isn’t really my focus. Without a pass, we have no offense. But now that I’m confident we have passers, we have to work on the firepower.”




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