Sports: Volleyball Rebounds for First Win, Girls Swimming Tested by Melrose

Photo: Jane Mahon serving.

Volleyball stones Stoneham, 3-0, to even season

After meeting one of the toughest opponents it will see this season in its opener, Belmont High Volleyball rebounded to grab its first victory of the young season, downing Stoneham 3-0 (25-10, 25-23, 25-21) in a warm Wenner Field House on Friday, Sept. 9.

With a strong defense digging numerous balls from the floor, Belmont was the beneficiary of some fortunate bounces including one of the more bizarre incidents you’ll see on the court. During the third set, after clawing back from nearly a ten point deficit to take a slim 20-19 point lead, a Stoneham player put the ball into her net, causing the Belmont players to turn to celebrate the point.

But the ball was still in play and a Stoneham player hit the ball over to the Marauders’ side where it hit sophomore Jane Mahon on her head. Realizing the situation, Belmont’s Katrena Daldalian stuck the ball over to Stoneham which lost the point due to a returning error. 

Head Coach Jen Couture named Daldalian the player of the match “for helping to shift the momentum” in the critical third, as she started serving at 12-18 and brought us to 21-19.

“It was very clutch,” said Couture, who added that Mahon also had a great match hitting 17 for 18 with 9 kills.

Belmont is 1-1 and will take on Wilmington away on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Depth propels swimming to victory over a strong Melrose squad

Anyone who thought the first meet of the year for Belmont’s swimmers against Melrose High School would be a cakewalk has not been following the local swimming scene lately. The Red Raiders are a young but strong team that finished last year’s Div. 2 state championship in 7th place. And the 2016 team brought back all its top rate competitors including junior freestyle sprinter Samantha D’Alessan and a slew of good relays.

The Red Raiders are a young but strong team that finished last year’s Div. 2 state championship in 7th place. And the 2016 team brought back all its top rate competitors including junior freestyle sprinting champ Samantha D’Alessandro and a slew of good relays.

“I knew we had to be on our toes to get by this team. They have wonderful girls and great coaches,” said Belmont’s long time head coach Ev Crosscup.

With the help of a sophomore stalwart and surprising depth in several events, Belmont was able to secure a hard-won victory, 90-75, with scoring stopped with two events remaining. 

Taking over from recently graduated swimming star Jessie Blake-West – she is competing for Brown this year – is 10th grader Nicole Kalavantis, who came off three state championship swims last year. And the sophomore picked up where she left off, powering through some very impressive times this early in the season, winning the 200 and 500 yard free with ease (2:05.57  and 5:37.07) and anchored the 200 medley and the 4×400 free relays to victories.

The Marauders’ deep bench was seen in events such as the 200 individual medley as Dervla Moore-Frederick, Angela Li and Molly Thomas finished 2, 3 and 4 to secure 9 of 16 points while Sophie Butte, Stephanie Zhang and Lulu November performed the same feat in the 100 free with Butte chomping at D’Alessandro’s heels coming home in 58.68. 

Butte came back to finish second in the 100 backstroke as Molly Thomas secured first in 1:05.66 with Moore-Frederick winning the 100 breaststroke. 

“It was a nice victory because it shows that I have some talent to work with this season,” said Crosscup.

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