CONWAY — The Kennett High volleyball team is riding a two-match win streak. The Eagles rallied to beat Laconia 3-2 in five exciting sets in the Peter Ames Gymnasium on Monday night.
The win lifted Kennett to 2-2 on the young season and into eighth place in the Division III standings. There are 21 teams in the division.
Laconia (0-3 in Division II) won the opening set 26-24; KHS took the second set 25-23; the Sachems took a 2-1 lead with a 25-11 third set; the Eagles won the fourth set 25-21 to set up a decisive first to 15, win by two, fifth set.
Kennett jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the fifth set on the strength of four aces by junior Vladislava (Lada) Anashkina. The hometown flock stretched the advantage to 9-1 and went on to close out the match 15-5.
“The girls played well,” said Craig Bartolomei, Eagles’ head coach. “They fought hard to come back from 2-1 (sets) down. Laconia is a good squad, from top to bottom they were solid.”
Bartolomei was pleased with how well the team served and with the strides it continues to make in receiving serves.
“Lada played very well,” he said. “She had some good kills and made an amazing save in the fourth set — she sees the game so well.”
Bartolomei also praised the night freshman Olivia Arias had serving, along with the play at the net by sophomore Jocelyn Henry, who “has a knack at the net for blocking.”
The KHS JV squad fell 2-1 to the Sachems, losing the pivotal third set 15-11.
The Eagles notched their first win of 2019 with a 3-0 road victory over Hillsboro-Deering on Sept. 11.
Junior Alexis Smith, the team’s defensive specialist, had a solid match, according to Bartolomei, who was pleased every Eagle was able to play in the contest.
“Our serve was on,” said Bartolomei, giving credit to Jaden Judge, Amirah Daugherty and Anashkina.
The two wins came on the heel of a pair of losses to open the season. KHS fell 3-1 at home to Nute (1-2) on Sept. 6 and lost 3-0 at Plymouth (2-1) on Sept. 9.
“I actually thought our varsity was more talented (than Nute),” Bartolomei said. “Our downfall will be our receiving (of serve). Nute, to their credit, received well. I think we had some first-game jitters. Everything else was close.”
The Lady Rams won the first set 25-11, but Kennett rebounded to win the second set 25-14, and Nute took the next two 25-18.
The KHS JV squad beat Nute 2-1, including 15-12 in the final set.
Bartolomei said Plymouth, with four girls standing 6-foot or taller, was the best team the Eagles have faced this season.
“They were good, a fun team to watch even as coach from the other side,” he said. “We were down 20-5 in one set, but it didn’t feel that bad.”
Kennett is scheduled back in action with two road matches 18 hours apart. The Eagles begin with a trip to Wolfeboro to play Kingswood (2-1 in Division II) on Friday at 6:15 p.m. and then have a rematch with the Sachems in Laconia at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.