It was just a dream two years ago, but through the efforts of Duxbury friends Barbara Vetsch and Danielle Snelling, volleyball came to be a varsity sport after just one season of intramural action and playing a JV schedule.
Add former Wake Forest star and current Head Coach Pam Thomas to the mix, and the Lady Dragons will make their first postseason appearance in their initial varsity season after beating Hanover on Friday afternoon, 3-1.
The victory puts Duxbury with a 9-7 record, guaranteeing at least a .500 record with two games remaining on the schedule.
“We have worked extremely hard throughout this season and are proud of our success in making it into the tournament during our first varsity year,” said Thomas. “This success is a result of a combination of passion and dedication to the sport by a very supportive coaching staff including assistant varsity and JV coach Steve Koelbel, freshman coach Mollie O’Hara, and former Sacred Heart coach and my mentor, Rob Slavin.”
While the team has had its ups and downs in its first varsity season, the competition in the Patriot League couldn’t have been any tougher when it comes to facing perennial powerhouses Quincy and North Quincy twice a year, accounting for 25 percent of Duxbury’s schedule. Add Silver Lake to the discussions and you can see there was not much room for error in trying to reach the .500 mark.
“All the girls are tremendous athletes who are very coachable, and they developed a true chemistry on the court that allowed us to make progress so quickly,” said Thomas.
Hoping to pull off a shocker by knocking off Quincy and qualifying for postseason play last Monday, the team had to delay their celebration for four more days after dropping a 3-1 decision to the Presidents, 11-25, 25-23, 18-25, 21-25.
Duxbury challenged a very experienced Quincy team and had the match notched at one game apiece, but they couldn’t break through in the final two games before losing. Junior Michela North had 11 kills and 17 digs for Duxbury, while teammate Christina Curley also had 17 digs. Neither performance was enough to overcome the continuous smart play of Quincy.
The team returned home two days later and raised their level of play several notches in beating the Panthers, 25-9, 25-17, 25-12. North continued her impressive play with 15 kills, while freshman Mackenzie Bright had four kills off her six attacks in an impressive debut as an outside hitter. The defense was outstanding with passing and digging led by Curley’s 11 digs, while North and senior Shannon McLaughlin both had eight digs each.
Now sporting an 8-7 record with three games to go, a win over Hanover would get the team into the tournament. Duxbury jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a 25-18 first-game win, but the Indians tied it up with a 17-25 second-game win. North was on top of her game once again with 14 kills, while sophomore Caitlin Turock served 11 aces to lead the Lady Dragons to 25-16 and 25-13 wins to clinch a berth.
Sophomore Kelly Dame continues to improve at the all-important setter position, doing a phenomenal job at orchestrating the offense and becoming a continuous threat at the net with an impressive kill record of her own.
The girls will play their last regular season home game of the year on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. when they take on Hingham in front of what they hope to be a large and boisterous crowd.