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  • Writer's pictureELLIOT POTOTSKY

Lasers soundly defeat Blazers in GNAC Quarterfinals

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

On Tuesday evening, the women’s volleyball team dominated the Elms College Blazers in straight sets to clinch their first Great Northeast Athletic Conference semi-finals appearance since 2017 and second appearance since 2007.

Sophomore Madalyn Scully inside team huddle before the first serve. Photo by Joe Giacco

The Lasers entered the match as the number three seed in the GNAC standings, while the Blazers, also known as the Bolts, entered the match as the number six seed.

During the first set, the Lasers started to pull away from the Bolts as they lead 18-9, but a ten-to-one run evened up the game at 19. After a back-and-forth duel that left both teams with 22 points, the Lasers won three straight points to give them the win 25-22. Credited with the final point was freshman setter Saige Cambonga-Meyers.

Coming out with fire in the second set were the Lasers. Once leading 7-0, Coach Vautrin’s squad managed to win 25-20, but not after losing focus for a short time which allowed the Bolts to claw back and trail by only two points. Fortunately for the Lasers, freshman libero Maddie Carro stepped up on the defensive end, slowing down former GNAC player of the week Jaylianne Ramos Figueroa.

When asked about how she mentally gets herself ready for big games, Carro credits the coaches for leading the team through practices that have them feeling prepared, while also highlighting the upperclassmen on the team who have taught her to be confident.

“We have established a really good and trustworthy team that no matter what will have my back,” said Carro.

Carro also says that letting loose more and just having fun has been a large part of her recent success.

“[I am] not hesitating, trusting my instincts, and going for everything,” said Carro.

Making an impact in the third set were sophomore middle blockers Juliana Medini and Madylyn Scully, who more than anything, demonstrated tremendous leadership throughout the game whether they were on the bench or on the court.

In a third set that started out like a boxing match with both teams delivering big hits, the Lasers capitalized around the net, coming up with several big blocks and vicious kills. After a time out from the Bolts' head coach, Tori Howdeshell, whose team trailed 15-11, the Lasers gained the largest lead of the set, going up 20-13.

The Lasers never looked back as they triumphed to take the third set 25-17. Hitting the game-winning point was sophomore outside hitter McKenna McCool and earning the assist was Carro.

When questioned after the game about what it would take to win their first championship since 2001, sophomore outside hitter Camila Lopez says the team has the power to win it all.

“Every single one of our players works hard,” said Lopez.

The Lasers will travel to face the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales University on Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. The winner will advance to the GNAC Championship and face the winner between Simmons University and Rivier University.

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