Medway women’s volleyball lose to Ipswich State Division 4 title match

TEWKSBURY – Gary Patch has instilled a motto in his volleyball team this year.

“The mantra is ‘Don’t leave questions unanswered on the court’,” the 12th-grade Medway women’s volleyball coach said ahead of the Division 4 State Championship game with Ipswich on Saturday.

Unfortunately for the third-seeded Mustangs on Saturday they couldn’t find an answer to overthrow the top-seeded Tigers.

Although Medway held the lead late in the first two sets, Ipswich moved up in both frames before sweeping the Mustangs, 3-0, to claim a Div. 4 state championship.

Medway's Addie Lynn, center, puts her arm around teammate Grace Gerard after a loss to Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship game at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.  On the left is her teammate Amy Johnston and on the right is Olivia Keniry.

Medway (19-4) made his first state title appearance since 2001. Ipswich ended his year at 22-1.

“It was great to be able to show what these girls are doing both in the regular season and in the tournament,” said Patch. “They’re here because they should be here, there’s no chance in everything we’ve done this year. They won it all and played hard and got here and just didn’t make it.

Medway senior Grace Gerard opened the ceremonies on Saturday by singing the national anthem. But when his microphone came in and out, the student section of Medway High – known as “The Stable” – began to sing along with the singer and volleyball player.

Medway's student section cheers on a Mustang server in the opening set against Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

“I felt like everyone was standing right next to me,” said Gerard. “It was a good feeling.”

Despite the good vibes, Medway lagged behind at the start of the first set but tied things up at 13 apiece on a solid serve from senior Amy Johnston (6 kills, 4 aces). Medway eventually took a 20-19 lead over an Ipswich violation before the lead swung back and forth between the two teams.

Medway head coach Gary Patch chats with his team before facing Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

Tied 23-23, a long hit from Ipswich gave Medway a shot at the opening set. The Tigers pushed the set point back but faced another Medway set point at 25-24. Once again, Ipswich held his ground to force the tie to 25 apiece before scoring the next two points to win first frame.

“Credit to them,” Patch said. “We weren’t expecting as much pressure from their community as they gave us and it was just a matter of persevering.”

“I just think volleyball is a game of mistakes. They’re all going to happen, ”said Maggie Regan, senior at Medway. “I don’t think it has anything to do with the end (of sets). It was pretty even.

Medway's Maggie Regan digs the ball in the second set against Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

The second set was a rocking affair for both teams, with no team leading by more than two points. The Mustangs took a 23-21 advantage over a Regan slam (11 kills), but just like the opening set, Medway couldn’t pull away as Ipswich won the next four points to win the frame, 25-23.

“They won a lot at the start and it came back to bite us a lot at the end of the second set,” said Regan.

“It was a little deflated,” said Anna Tonelli, senior at Medway. “It’s hard to have hope at this point.”

Despite a 3-0 lead in the third set, the Mustangs felt deflated and lost eight of the next nine points. After that, the closest Medway went 14-12 before Ipswich junior ace Grace Sorensen on match point won the third set at 25-16.

“I think they’ve passed us a bit,” said Patch.

Medway's Maggie Regan will kill in the second set against Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

Medway dominated the Tri-Valley League Small this fall thanks in large part to the play of Regan, the reigning TVL Small MVP, and Johnston. Debuting as TVL All-Stars this fall, the dynamic duo helped the Mustangs through the Div. 4 tournaments.

Medway lost just two sets in the playoffs heading into Saturday’s State Championship.

For Tonelli, who has switched to the passer this season, it was fun placing passes through the “twin towers” ​​of Johnston (5’10) and Regan (6’2 ”).

Medway's Amy Johnston serves in the second set against Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

“It’s just heartwarming to know that I have two outboard motors that can overcome my mistakes and are so flexible and versatile on the pine,” said Tonelli.

And bring comfort to Medway – following his loss in Div. 4 State Championship – is the fact that the Mustangs have gone further than any team in program history over the past 20 years.

“It was so much fun and really special,” Regan said.

Medway's Bridget Haddigan, left, puts her arm around teammate Samantha Fleming after the loss to Ipswich in the Division 4 Women's Volleyball State Championship match at Tewksbury Memorial High School on Saturday.

“To go this far, it’s worth everything,” said Gérard. “It was such a cool thing to experience. It’s not every day that you are a finalist.

“I can’t find a word to describe (this year),” Tonelli added. “It was with some of my favorite people in the world, on such a special team.”

Tommy Cassell is a senior multimedia reporter for the Daily News. He can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ tommycassell44.


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