Photo: What winners look like; Belmont in five sets over Winchester
It was a struggle, it was a war and there was nothing that anyone was giving away.
The volleyball match between Belmont and Winchester highs was between 13 win contestants with a chance to take a share of a league title, an opportunity that each squad would not surrender without a drag out, back and forth shootout.
And at the end of the day, it was Belmont taking the emotional marathon match from host Winchester, 3 sets to 2, (18-25, 25-21, 25-22, 10-25, 19-17) with the final set ending with Belmont saving a game point with a soft tip shot to an outside spot by senior co-captain/middle blocker Jane Mahon before winning it with a service ace from senior opposite hitter Gabby Viale.
“We were on fire!” said Mahon whose blocking and kills were critical in Belmont controling the front of the net. But Mahon praised the entire team – Belmont’s Head Coach Jen Couture uses a slew of players throughout the game – for its collective effort.
“My teammates were absolutely incredible tonight. Every single person on the court for Belmont gave it their all and refused to give in or give up as we rolled into overtime,” said Mahon, who is one of the top players in kill percentage in the state.
Both teams came into Friday’s game at 11-2 in league play with Winchester with a 13-5 and Belmont a 13-2 over all record. The Sachems coming off a statement win over Reading, shutting out the Rockets, 3-0, at home a week before.
Belmont took two sets after dropping the first. The Sachems then responded to the home crowd’s enthusiastic urging to push the Marauders to a take it all fifth set.
Belmont started off on the front foot by taking a 4-0 lead “but Winchester was not giving up. And from then on it was close battle,” said Mahon. The the Sachems took a late lead and were a point from taking the game at 12 -14.
“Then we sided out and senior setter Mindee Lai served to tie it at 14-14. Then it was back and forth,” said Mahon. Belmont would survive a pair of game winning serves (the final one at 16-17) by Winchester leading to the final two points and the win. (Start the video at 1:58:00 to see the final points of the game.)
Friday’s win sets up a showdown with Middlesex Liberty leader Reading Memorial High (14-2, 13-1) on Tuesday, Oct. 23. A Belmont win, on Seniors Night at Wenner Field House, will give Belmont a share of the title lead with two games remaining this week. If the Marauders than takes a victory over Arlington, they will be league co-champions, the first time Belmont Volleyball will raise a championship banner.
Back on Sept. 25, Reading beat the visiting Marauders, 3 to 1.
But on Friday night, Mahon and her teammates thoughts was on one of the biggests victories in Belmont volleyball’s history.
“I just have to say, this is one night we will all remember. I’m so lucky to have such talent on the floor with me,” said Mahon.