Photo: Belmont’s Leah Babroudi at the net against Burlington.
Last year Belmont High volleyball’s young team squeaked into the playoffs with a .500 record than losing in the first round.
Now, with a year’s worth of experience under their belt and a familiarity playing as a team, Belmont’s Head Coach Jen Couture has high hopes for a strong run in the league race and for a post-season run.
And so far the team has not disappointed, winning its first two contests in the 2018 season; 3-1 (25-20, 25-18, 20-25, 25-22) in the home opener over Burlington on Wednesday and a 3-0 (25-16, 25-9, 25-15) whitewashing of Wilmington Friday.
In its game with Burlington – a semifinalist in last year’s Division 2 North sectionals – Belmont never allowed the Devils to run off long service games while countering with a complete game plan.
“We started off the match playing with confidence,” said Couture. “Burlington took a little while to warm up and really started getting into a groove in the third set which they inevitably took. In the fourth set we just focused on minimizing unforced errors, keeping everything in play and hitting smart shots. [Belmont] didn’t get shaken or down on themselves after dropping the [previous] set and bounced back to finish the match.”
Junior captain setter Mindee Lai set a new record for assists in a single match with 35.
“Mindee always gives 100 percent effort every match and does an excellent job setting up our offense. Burlington’s middle blockers really challenge our hitters to hit to smart spots and Mindee adjusts the sets to give hitters more time to hit around the block,” said Couture.
Senior Captain Jane Mahon led the offense with 11 kills (17 total in two games) and 6 aces. Mahon, who plays as the opposite hitter and middle blocker, also led the team in blocks with 6. She’s followed by junior Nena Babroudi with 10 kills and 5 services aces.
Leading from the back was junior Libero Sophia Estok who came up big serving in the fourth set along with her solid defense. In the two games, Estok has 36 defensive digs and 38 services received while senior Leah Babroudi has 14 digs and 24 services.