~ Special to The Bedford Citizen
Friday the girls defeated Cardinal Spellman of Brockton 3-1 (20-25, 25-19, 25-19, 25-19) in the quarterfinal match on Friday. They will travel to neutral site Dartmouth High School to play against Dennis-Yarmouth in the semifinal match on Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Bedford was led by a powerful attack from duo Lauren Harrell and Gabriela Zovko that proved to be too much for Spellman to answer.
Harrell, who recently signed to play NCAA Division 1 volleyball next year at the University of New Orleans, had a career-high 32 kills. Zovko, the only Junior on the roster, added her own career-high, 21 kills, and 29 assists.
Yet none of that would have been possible without the solid passing from libero Angela Gu with her own career-high 30 digs, and scrappy defensive play from the entire Bucs squad.
“From the start of the season, our motto has been to try to ‘out-team’ our opponents. We knew we had some talented individual players on our roster, but it was going to take the collective effort of all 14 of us if we wanted to win,” said Coach Lisa Predaina. “Everyone has really bought into that idea and has worked incredibly hard in practice all season. Tonight you could see how cohesive of a team we are. We are peaking at the right time.”
The Bucs dropped the first set 20-25 due to a combination of unforced errors and the strong play from Spellman senior Captain Elizabeth Hurm. “She was everywhere on the court tonight,” Predaina said. “She was digging the ball and then hitting spots on the court really well. She definitely challenged us to step up our game.”
The Bucs responded by jumping out to a quick 10-4 lead in the second set before Spellman was forced to call a timeout. Bedford claimed victory in the second set to even the score 1-1, and then proceeded to win the next two sets to take the match and bring some hardware back home to BHS.
This is the first year of the MIAA tournament realignment, with the post-season format changed to a single-elimination bracket consisting of the top-ranked 32 teams per division statewide. In the past, Bedford competed in the Division 2 North sectionals and had never advanced beyond the district semifinal (equivalent to the current round of 16).
This new system realigned teams and moved Bedford to Division 3. “I know there are mixed feelings about this new system. But I like it,” Predaina said. “It gives us a chance to play schools we never otherwise would, but also gives potentially the best teams a chance to play at the end of the tournament, rather than the middle of it.”
Tewksbury and Old Rochester will face off in the other D3 semifinal match later this week. “In the old format, Bedford and Tewksbury would have been in the same district, so one team would have already been eliminated. As tough as the long-distance bus rides have been, I think this way makes for a more competitive and fair tournament.”