Newton North accomplished a feat no other girls' volleyball team could this season, snapping Barnstable's 41-match winning streak with a five-set victory (26-24, 25-22, 12-25, 21-25, 15-11) at the Red Raiders' gym Wednesday.
"Some coaches get good results. But [Barnstable coach Tom Turco] gets good results because he's organized, he's professional, he has high expectations and he unifies his team toward one goal," said Tigers coach Richard Barton.
The Red Raiders (13-1) have 14 state championships and last lost in 2010, a 3-1 defeat to Medfield. Prior to Wednesday's matchup, Barnstable had lost three sets all season.
"It works and pays dividends and once in a while someone knocks them off," said Barton.
And it was anything but easy.
"We knew they were dangerous and the hurdle playing against Barnstable is not faltering and just keeping the pedal to the metal the entire time," said Barton.
The 2-and-a-half hour match came down to a deflection placing the ball on the Tigers side of the court, 10 feet away from any player. Tigers senior setter Keane Brazda dove to pop the ball up three feet from the net setting up junior outside hitter Infiniti Thomas (six block-kills), who slugged the ball after a weird approach, resulting in a Barnstable attack error. For game point, a Barnstable pass skimmed the net and fell back on the Red Raiders' side for an error to end the set, 15-11.
"Barnstable just passes everything so well and it was a strange play. They're true players and it could have easily gone their way," said Barton.
The Tigers (15-1) have not had a scheduled matchup against Barnstable for the past few seasons but Barton chose this pairing to eliminate any postseason surprises.
"Itís a tremendous confidence boost. My philosophy is it's better to play top teams and know more about them to build more confidence. If you're used to them, the players feel more confident. Unfortunately, Turco will also feel the same way because now he can better prepare for us," Barton said.
The Tigers' confidence soared after winning the first two sets. But the Tigers were not able to keep more than a four or five-point lead throughout the game. The high-level competition produced 41 kills for the Tigers. Barnstable was led by Regan Bristol (19 kills), Colleen Koen (10 kills) and Kayla Crook's 32 assists.
"A kill was very difficult to get in the game because [Barnstable] touches every play and the rallies were very long," said Barton.
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