Needham players, Payton Hartung (12) and Karen Nie (2), block an attempted spike by Walpole.
By Robby McKittrick
Hometown Weekly Reporter
The Needham girls volleyball team defeated Walpole in five sets at Needham High School on Thursday, Oct. 4. to improve to 8-1 on the season. This was the second time this season that Walpole lost to Needham in five sets.
Needham began the game with the momentum, winning the first two sets 25 to 23 and 25 to 19. However, Walpole responded, winning the next two sets in close fashion. Needham was able to respond in the fifth game, winning the set 15 to 12, to defeat Walpole for the second time of the year.
“It was a great game,” said Needham Head Coach Courtney Chaloff. “It was a little bit of a rollercoaster at times. The first time we played Walpole, we played five sets, as well, and we were really intentional of learning from that game.”
Coach Chaloff said that the preparation going into the game was a key in their victory.
“We watched film,” she said. “We looked at what their defense was doing against us. They did a really nice job [earlier in the season] defending our outsides … [The preparation] definitely paid off.”
Although Needham won the match, Walpole had all of the momentum going into the fifth set. Coach Chaloff explained what she told her players before the last set.
“I was saying to the girls, sometimes when that happens, when a team is up, and the other team comes back in the third and fourth [set], you often see that team actually win it because you have that momentum,” she said. “We have been down and come back in that fifth set so we know what that feels like. [My players] tried to really take in that feeling of how hungry they were [in those situations] to win it.”
Despite almost winning in comeback fashion, Walpole Head Coach Lisa Cyr was disappointed with how her team began the game.
“We weren’t ready when we started,” said Coach Cyr. “That was frustrating for everybody. But once we made some changes to try to see if we could turn it around, we were able to do that.”
Although Walpole ended up losing to Needham for the second time this season to fall to 8-3, Coach Cyr liked how her team responded to adversity in the last three sets of the match.
“Once we got going by set three, I was really proud of them,” said Coach Cyr. “They were able to earn points. They were supporting each other more. They were communicating with each other … I am really happy that we at least walked away from it going to five.”