High schools: Belchertown boys volleyball eliminated by West Side in Div. 2 tourney

Staff Writer
Published: 6/2/2023 9:05:58 PM

WEST SPRINGFIELD — No matter how many times No. 28 Belchertown was down against No. 5 West Springfield, the Orioles kept fighting until the very end. 

The Belchertown boys’ volleyball team fell in straight sets (25-6, 25-20, 25-16) to the Terriers in the MIAA Division 2 Round of 32 on Friday night.

West Springfield will host No. 12 Frontier in the Round of 16 on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

Belchertown (5-14) knew it was in for a difficult match against West Springfield, but the visitors were determined to give it their all.

“They're the fifth ranked team in the state for a reason. We played them earlier in the year and they came to our gym, and I think our first set was 25-1,” Belchertown head coach Christopher Shea said. “I knew it was going to be a tough struggle… they were going to be tough to beat in their gym. But we've been battle-tested all season and for them to show up the way they did, I'm just super proud.”

Setter Rainer Kristensen finished with 14 assists, one kill and one block. Connor White led the offense with six kills and added two blocks and teammate Gabriel Ibekilo had four kills and two blocks. Brian Burns added two kills and two blocks and Filip Lasiuk had one ace for the Orioles. 

The Terriers were in complete control in the first set, racing out to a 10-0 lead and keeping their foot on the gas for the rest of that set.

In the second frame, the Orioles settled down and made fewer mistakes, playing more aggressively and capitalizing on some Terriers miscues. After a back-and-forth start, Belchertown broke a 7-7 tie to take the lead and maintained it until West Springfield managed to tie it back up at 17 points apiece. After trading blows however, the Terriers managed to retake the lead and capture the second set. 

That momentum carried over into the third set – West Springfield held the lead for the entirety of the frame, though Belchertown kept the hosts within striking distance. 

Despite the outcome, Shea was impressed with the team’s improvement in the few years he’s been head coach. Last year, the Orioles weren’t able to qualify for the state tournament, but that season built the foundation for their appearance this year, led by seniors White, Lasiuk, Tyler Bogdanovich, Cam Buley and Will Hill. 

“Last year was just kind of a learning experience. We had no seniors, a lot of freshmen. Now we have five seniors and a lot of sophomores. It's 100 percent a step in the right direction,” Shea said. “It's going to take hard work and dedication in the offseason by everybody. I think we have a lot of great talent to be good.”

Boys tennis

Div. 3 Round of 32

No. 15 Boston L atin Academy 5, No. 18 Northampton 0 — Aidan and Ethan Metz fell 6-4, 6-3 in No. 1 doubles while Maitreya Abend and Oliver Levine dropped a 6-4, 3-6, 10-7 match in No. 2 doubles for the Blue Devils in a loss to host Boston Latin in the MIAA Div. 3 tournament on Friday. 

Reilly Fowles narrowly lost his match in No. 1 singles. Durrell Patrick lost 6-4, 6-2 in No. 2 singles while Max Cahillane fell 6-1, 6-2 in No. 3 singles for Northampton.

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