Presidents top Plymouth South to stay undefeated

QUINCY — They always say that when something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.

So after she watched her group sweep Plymouth South in two regular season matches, Quincy volleyball coach Jacqui Niosi didn’t see too much of a need to change things up in Wednesday night’s tilt with the Panthers.

Niosi’s instincts turned out correct. Despite momentary lapses, the Presidents eventually reverted to their formidable approach. Sophomore Annika Schmitt racked up 12 assists to go along with eight kills and six digs, while senior Ashley Grehan added 16 digs and five kills, as Quincy (12-0) kept its unprecedented run going with a swift 3-0 victory over Plymouth South in the Patriot Cup semifinals.

“We played pretty clean most of the game,” said Niosi. “Not a ton of unforced errors. I thought we served well. Usually when we do that, good things happen.”

The Presidents cruised by set scores of 25-13, 25-11 and 25-19.

After rolling through the opening round of play however, Quincy faced some adversity, as the Presidents found themselves knotted 8-8 in the second set with the Panthers. As things began to unravel, Niosi spoke with the players, trying to get them back on track.

“I think we felt like we had something to prove tonight,” Niosi said. “And we just wanted to step on the court and play well. It’s really hard to beat a team the third time in a season. We just focused on that, trying to get better when we stepped on the court. Just little things, keep it simple with every play, every volley, what you’re supposed to do, and just focus on basics.”

The Presidents then responded with authority by going on a pivotal 17-3 run to win the second game, and for all intents and purposes, seal the match by seizing a 2-0 lead. Alyssa Ruan (24 digs, three aces) provided the decisive blow, placing a serve just perfectly for the clinching point.

“I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches,” said Ruan. “Because we always take time out of our day to practice on our serving, and make sure that our form is correct.”

With the match and a trip to the league championship on the line, Collen Moran (five kills) watched as Schmitt tapped a ball high into the air. The Quincy junior waited as it fell toward her, then wound back and delivered a thundering spike over the net. The Panthers had no time to react, and the Presidents sent their home fans into pandemonium once again with another victory.

“This team has an incredible bond with each other,” said Quincy senior Rachel McKenna. “And we all don’t doubt anything that anyone of us does. So I think that has a lot to (with how) our games play out.”

As easy as Quincy has made it look to this point, the Presidents will still have to win one more match to be crowned Patriot Cup champions this Friday. It will also be their biggest task of the season, as they will head to Silver Lake Regional High School to face another undefeated league rival, Duxbury.

“We’re really just going to give everything our all during practices, during games,” McKenna said. “Just be happy to be out here during these unprecedented times.”

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