Class A volleyball: No. 2 Amherst sweeps Minnechaug in quarters (PHOTOS)

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  • Amherst’s Lauren Joy spikes a set against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Amalia Martin, left, and Lauren Joy leap to block against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Amalia Martin pushes a set as an attack against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Amalia Martin pulls up a dig against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Sophie Kawall follows through her swing against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Lauren Joy delivers an attack against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • The Amherst girls volleyball team huddles after a point against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. The Hurricanes prevailed 3-0. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Juliana Shepard dives for a dig against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Annabel Ogden sets the ball against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI—

  • Amherst’s Talia Sadiq passes the ball against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Amalia Martin, left, celbrates with her team after a point against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst’s Amalia Martin attacks the ball against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

  • Amherst libero Liza Beigel pulls up a dig against Minnechaug in the Western Massachusetts Class A volleyball quarterfinals Tuesday in Amherst. STAFF PHOTO / KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer
Published: 10/25/2022 9:10:12 PM

AMHERST – Complacency didn’t follow the Amherst Regional girls volleyball team home from Minnechaug.

The No. 2 seed Hurricanes swept the No. 7 Falcons last Thursday in their last match of the regular season before Tuesday’s rematch in the Western Massachusetts Class A quarterfinals.

“I've done this for so long that it always is in the back of your mind when they have just played a team or swept them, that they're going to come in thinking that's the way it's gonna be,” Amherst coach Kacey Schmitt said. “I was just a little worried we’d come out flat and let them get on a roll.”

Instead the Hurricanes kept rolling, sweeping Minnechaug once again 3-0 to advance to the semifinals for the third consecutive tournament. They’ll host either No. 3 West Springfield or No. 6 Ludlow on Friday. 

Amherst (16-3) pounced on Minnechaug from the first serve and ran away with a 25-9 victory in Set 1.

“Our energy was high, and we got our serves in,” Amherst libero Liza Beigel said. “Which was good because we were working on that (Monday), and I think that made a huge impact.”

Beigel led the Hurricanes with eight aces and pulled up a team-high 18 digs. Her serve, while not the flashiest, carries movement and dips like a knuckle-ball pitcher.

“She was moving it around and she gets a lot of movement on the ball anyway,” Schmitt said. “They were really having trouble with her serve partially because it’s deceiving. She gets so much movement on it that it’s tricky.” 

The Falcons bounced back to take an 8-5 lead in the second, but Amherst regained it 11-10 on an Amalia Martin kill. The Hurricanes took the set 25-17.

Martin paced Amherst with 17 kills and added 10 digs with five assists and four aces. She keyed a long serving run in the third set and also made a miraculous, diving save that not only kept the ball alive but led to an Amherst point.

“That’s why I play volleyball, having the rush of doing something you didn’t even know you could do or didn’t expect yourself to do,” Martin said.

Amherst closed the third set 25-17 to end the match quickly. Lauren Joy (five kills) and Audrey Bowen controlled the middle of the net with two blocks each.

Annabel Ogden directed the offense expertly with 24 assists, while Emerson Joyce contributed five aces and five digs.

“This team is really well together as a group, I feel like they bring each other up,” Schmitt said. “That kind of teamwork with a good team like this is what will bring you up to that leven in the playoffs where you’re going to be able to come in and feel like you can beat anybody.”

Kyle Grabowski can be reached at kgrabowski@gazettenet.com. Follow him on Twitter @kylegrbwsk.
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