When Patriot League adversaries Quincy and North Quincy meet in volleyball, records get thrown out the window and nothing else matters except that match.
“For us, at this point it is more for pride and to get something behind us before going into tournament,” said Quincy senior setter Nicole Parry.
In the two teams' most recent match, unranked Quincy upset No. 17 North Quincy 3-2 (25-14, 18-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11) on Oct. 26. The last set was settled with junior outside hitter Alysha Dunbar’s ace followed by a Parry kill.
Pride is the fuel that feeds these two competitors with a rivalry that goes as far back as the 1980s when both schools reigned in the state tournament, setting the tone for the Boston area. It's possible that the two teams will face each other again in the state tournament.
“It doesn’t mater what the records are, who is playing better, who is at the top or bottom — it’s just a pride match,” said North Quincy coach Kerry Ginty.
“We’ve gone back and forth the past couple of years," Ginty said later. "It’s always a toss up.”
It is no surprise both teams have mirror image offense and defensive play, since both coaches trained a club team together four years ago. That, along with the fact that most of the girls are neighbors or best friends with each other, enhances the competitiveness and level of play.
“They know each other inside out," Ginty said. "They know our weaknesses more than we do. It is really special that every North Quincy and Quincy sport share.
“It is the color of the jerseys that is the difference.”
Their most recent game was a testament to that.
Quincy found North Quincy’s holes in the front row and began tipping to seal the first set, 25-14.
“We get really pumped up for these games because it is North [Quincy] and they carry a long history so we have to give it our all,” Parry said.
Despite North Quincy makings its biggest comeback in the fourth set, coming back from 14-22 to 21-22, Quincy’s defense settled the score, 25-21.
“You give them an inch and they roll with it,” said Quincy coach Jacqui Niosi.
“We’re lucky to play such an intense game like this before the tournament," Niosi said. "It’s a great preparatory tool where the intensity and pressure is really strong.”
North Quincy was led by senior outside hitter Olivia Umoren (11 kills), who leads the team with 166 kills this season. Senior libero Elizabeth Sullivan totaled 28 digs and senior setter Rachel Chu had 30 digs.
“[Rachel] is such a great hustler. She gets to every ball and I work her hard, but she handles it really well," Ginty said. "I expect a lot out of her and she rose to the occasion.
“She improves leaps and bounds every day," Ginty continued. "She’s our floor general.”
Seniors Lizzie Kelley, Elizabeth Forde, Megan Leahy and Kara Reardon have also had an impact as leaders after helping raising $5,000 for breast cancer.
“It’s a testament to their leadership," Ginty said. "They’re the cream of the crop as far as high schoolers go.”
For Quincy, Parry led the night with 14 assists, 14 digs and 13 kills. Behind her was senior setter D.J. Niosi (14 assists, 10 digs) and freshman libero Emma Kelley (14 digs).
“Our intensity level is a lot higher and our mental focus is much steadier than in games in the past,” Niosi said.
That mentality is sending both teams into the tournament.