Sports: Belmont Volleyball Stage Epic Comeback Victory, Stunning Woburn

Photo: Belmont celebrates its improbable comeback victory over Woburn.

Belmont High School Volleyball’s pending loss to host Woburn High on Thursday, Oct. 15 was signed, sealed and all but delivered.

Having dropped the first two sets and trailing the Tanners 21-8 in the third, it appeared the Marauders would lose their third straight game and all but end their chances of returning to the MIAA postseason for a school-record third year in a row.

But a combination of pinpoint serving from a pair of senior leaders and a demonstration of heart and guts from those on the court gave the Marauders the opening it needed to defeat Woburn 3-2 (21-25, 12-25, 25-22, 25-21, 15-10) and complete the most epic rally in program history.

“In my five years coaching this team I’ve never witnessed such a comeback,” proclaimed Belmont Head Coach Jen Couture.

“They were able to completely forget the first two sets and transform into the team they needed to be to win that game. Everyone was cheering and screaming. It was a magical atmosphere. There were even some tears at the end of the match,” she said.

The win ups Belmont’s record to 8-7, leaving the Marauders needing to win two of its remaining four games to secure a spot in the playoffs. 

Woburn won a somewhat tightly contested first set, 25-21, before taking the second quickly, 25 to 12.

“The team started off flat. We weren’t moving or communicating at all,” said Couture.

The Tanner’s quickly took charge of the third set, building a 21 to 8 lead and “running away with the match,” said Couture.

With the side out to Belmont, senior back row starter Su Jing Chen took the ball and the game in her hands as she went on a 12-point serving run before Woburn sided out bringing the score to 20-22.

The Marauders won the ball back with an immediate side out (21-22), and Chen’s fellow senior Shannon Corrigan served out the set, giving Belmont the improbable set victory as the Marauders outscored the Tanners, 17-1, after trailing by 13 points.

But the Marauders was still behind two sets to one against a team that defeated it earlier in the season. Belmont surged to a 7–1 lead in the fourth set but Woburn came back to knot the score up at 14. The score seesawed to where Belmont had a slim single-point lead 20-19, Before the Marauders outscored the Tanners, 5-2, to take the fourth set 25–21.

In the 15-point winner take-all-final set, Woburn took an early 6-4 lead before Belmont scored 4 out of the next 5 points to lead 8 to 7.

Belmont moved to a two-point lead at 10-8. Woburn drew to within one at 10-9 but would never come closer as Belmont won 5 of the next 6 points to win the set, 15-10, to complete the victory.

Couture pointed to several players as keys to the comeback, noting that senior co-captain Katelyn Messer was solid in her hitting and contributed superb defense.
                                                                                               
“[Messer] was everywhere on the court. She read the hitters so well and was able to anticipate where to be on defense,” Couture said.
 
Messer’s fellow senior co-captain Faye Reagan and junior Colleen McVay provided beautiful, consistent sets on the front line while freshman Jane Mahon in her varsity debut recorded three kills and a solo block, in addition to clutch serving in the 5th set.
 
Couture said junior front row Fiona Martin “had a fabulous day in the middle hitting 32 for 33 with five kills.”
 
“Martin” was incredibly consistent and did a great job of moving the ball around the court and mixing up her attacks.”
 
Next for Belmont is traveling to Lexington on Monday, a team the Marauders defeated earlier in the season.
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