By Ruby Kennedy
The Bedford High School girls volleyball team fell 0-3 Monday night to Melrose in Division II North Quarterfinals. Despite incredible team energy and an enthusiastic crowd, Bedford couldn’t overcome the combination of big blocks, strong hitting, and smart dumping by the Melrose team.
Click on the following images – Courtesy Ruby Kennedy, 2015 all rights reserved – to see them at full width
Click on the following images – Courtesy Michael Albert, 2015 all rights reserved – to see them at full width
Bedford’s coach Ryan Schmitt’s hometown is Melrose, so in the final game his team was playing against his home crowd. The Melrose coach approached Coach Ryan after the match to commend Bedford’s excellent performance, commenting that BHS floored the Melrose team and offered one of the toughest competitions that Melrose faced all season. “It may have been a ‘loss’ last night,” noted one observer, “but I think Coach Ryan would tell you it was a win for Bedford. The players felt great about their performances and really had fun. You could see it on their faces.”
Bedford is definitely a team to watch. Though this was going to be a building year for a young team, Bedford ended the regular season with a solid 11-8 record, playing against many Division I schools with notable wins against Weston, Cambridge Rindge & Latin, and Westford Academy. Losing only three seniors next year (compared to 12 seniors in 2015), Bedford is poised to come back strong in 2016.
Watching volleyball demands some vocabulary additions for many readers: Outside hitter, setter and libero among them. Liberos play back-row only, but can freely substitute with two other players on the court. Bedford’s libero, Nghi Nguyen, subs for both middles in the back-row (Gardner and Knight) though she can serve only once per 6-person rotation.
During the final game in Melrose, Bedford’s hitting was led by senior Gwen Gardner (outside hitter), sophomore Natalie Knight (outside hitter), junior Julianna Byington (middle) and senior Ludovica Schaerf (opposite). Setter Nicole Kennedy (junior) kept Melrose defense guessing by setting middle, outside, and opposite, mixed in with the occasional dump. Bedford’s defense was spearheaded by libero, junior Nghi Nguyen, alongside Gardner and Knight.
Team members playing in the Quarterfinals included Annie Cowen, Sophomore, # 3, Setter; Natalie Knight, Sophomore, # 6, Outside; Sophia Buonopane, Sophomore, # 7, Outside; Ludovica Schaerf, Senior, # 8, Opposite; Jasmin Yannix, Sophomore, # 10, Opposite; Caitlen Epperson, Senior, # 11, Opposite; Julianna Byington, Junior, # 13, Middle; Nicole Kennedy, Junior, # 17, Setter and Co-Captain; Nghi Nguyen, Junior, # 18, Libero; Emily Wiegert, Junior, # 19, Middle; Gwen Gardner, Senior, # 20, Outside and Co-Captain; Cameron Rackey, Freshman, # 22, Middle; Maya Bostwick, Junior, # 23, Opposite; Amy Martin,Sophomore, # 24, Middle; and Cordelia Houck, Sophomore, # 33, Outside.
Congratulations to the entire varsity team, coach Ryan Schmitt, and assistant coaches Lisa Predaina, Hailey Drummond, and Becky Waghorne. It was a great season.