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Bulldogs still have Cavaliers volleyball number — for now

By Tom King - Staff Writer | Sep 8, 2022

Hollis Brookline's Annette Schlunk tries to get a return past Bedford's Violet Falvey (24) and Audey Ferlan during Wednesday night's Division I match in Hollis. (Telegraph photo by TOM KING)

HOLLIS – Bulldogged again.

But that’s not really how the Hollis Brookline High School girls volleyball team looked at Wednesday night’s 3-1 loss to the two-time defending Division I champion Bedford Bulldogs in a rematch of the last two finals.

No reason to, really. It’s only the first full week in September, and November, when all will be decided, is two months away.

“The regular season is the preseason,” Cavs coach Becky Balfour said. “It really is. Get in the tournament, and if you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat everybody. I’m OK. This is the second match of the season.

“They’re (Bedford) doing what we’re doing. And on a given night, you know, we’re going to work hard again to change the outcome.”

And that outcome was a 25-19, 25-21, 22-25, 25-16 Bulldog victory, as they go 2-0 on the season. Bedford jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the opening set, pulled away from a 13-all tie in set 2, and jumped out 12-4 in the fourth set. Even in the Cavs’ victory, they had leads of 14-4 and 20-11 before the ‘Dogs suddenly rallied to within 24-22.

“Top to bottom, our whole team played outstanding,” Bedford coach Anna McGann said. “These girls are working really, really had in practice, and a lot of the things that we’re doing is just pursuing the ball until it drops and keep playing the game until the whistle blows. They definitely did their job defensively, which is great.

“It’s always fun to play Hollis. They give us a great game, they’ve got some amazing athletes on their team. We come in ready to play, so we always love these big games.”

So do the Cavs.

“These are the games everybody loves to play,” Balfour said. “This is what we practice so hard for. We knew coming into this that if we won, we’d have a pretty good indicator of what we were doing, and keep doing that. And if we came up short if we did, we certainly have a lot that we know and let’s focus on these things. I love this group.”

This group has six seniors and five juniors. But get this – Bedford has one senior, and eight sophomores. They graduated six from last year’s champs, but they may be around for awhile.

For HB, Annette Schlunk 13 kills and three aces, while senior Cheyenne Colbert, who was playing multiple positions, had 12 kills. Rachel Sheppard also had a good serving night with three aces, while Maia Schneider added 17 digs.

For Bedford, Audrey Ferlan had 10 blocks, while McKenna O’Connell led the ‘Dogs in assists, while Lindsey Healey led the way with 11 kills.

It was a night for milestones as well. Cavs senior captain Sophie Jordan had 40 assists, including her 1,000th career assist, quite the feat. Bedford junior Lana McCarthy recorded her 150th block.

“In Divison I, to get 1,000 assists, that is huge,” Balfour said of her four-year varsity player’s accomplishment.

That’s all big in September. In November, they likely won’t be stopping matches for these things. And right now, Bedford is still Bedford.

“And we’re still Hollis Brookline,” Balfour, whose program had four straight crowns from 2015-18, reminded. “Lot of history there.

“It was a team effort. We’ll work it out.”

After all, they have plenty of time.


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