Old Rochester volleyball believes 2015 could be a special year
The excitement surrounding the Old Rochester girls volleyball team grows with each win. Following Wednesday’s three-set sweep of Wareham, the Lady Bulldogs are now just six victories shy of qualifying for the postseason.
By Adam K. Ellis
Posted Sep. 30, 2015 at 1:56 AM
WAREHAM – The excitement surrounding the Old Rochester girls volleyball team grows with each win. Following Wednesday’s three-set sweep of Wareham, the Lady Bulldogs are now just six victories shy of qualifying for the postseason.
“We’ve come out with a huge start to the season,” said Coach Matt Bisso, who has been with the program since 2010.
Old Rochester (5-2, 3-2 SCC) set the tone with a dominant first set against the Vikings, winning 25-7. Wareham battled in the second but the potent set-spike combination of ORR’s front line was overwhelming, resulting in 25-14 and 25-11 outcomes to close out the match.
“It felt really good to see the girls clicking like that on both offense and defense,” Bisso said.
Senior setter Michaelah Nunes was superb in the middle, dishing out nine assists and directing the Bulldog offense with high efficiency.
“She’s been the lynch pin for this team,” the ORR coach said. “She works so hard to get the ball to our middies and outside hitters.”
Bisso credits much of Nunes’ success to her work in the off-season, showcasing the benefits such dedication can reap to a program filled with up-and-coming talent.
“To her it’s a craft,” he said. “She’s really taken the time to hone her skills at the position. There’s no doubt, she’s moved this program forward with her commitment to the sport.”
The front line of Maddy Lee, Hayli Marshall, Zoe Smith and Olivia Bellefeuille have been the benefactors of such precise passes. Against Wareham, Lee led all players with seven kills, while Marshall (four kills) and Smith (three) also took turns dropping the hammer.
“When our sets are clicking, our offense knows what to do with those passes,” the coach said.
As a team, the Bulldogs smashed 14 kills on the night. ORR also racked up a season-high 13 aces.
“I think having the hitters we do, they’re capable of having nights like this every night,” Bisso said. “This is how we want them to play for the rest of the season.”
Defensively, Emma Collings and Haley Aguiar were sure-handed, digging out seven and six balls, respectively.
Last year, the Bulldogs missed the playoffs by two games, dropping the final two regular-season contests to finish 8-12 overall.
This year, Old Rochester insists it’s not only focused on making the playoffs, but believes in the possibility of a deep postseason run.
“For many of these girls, this is their third season playing together,” he said. “They’re a little more headstrong and I think they’re ready to compete in the playoffs.”
The high-caliber opponents of the South Coast Conference should help prepare the Bulldogs for the challenges that lie ahead. The second half of the schedule features teams like Case, Greater New Bedford, Bourne and Fairhaven, who are all perennial contenders in the South Sectionals.
“Those are the teams we want to play,” Bisso said. “And we want to be competitive against them too.”
Old Rochester has a 22-game schedule this season, so it must reach 11 wins to secure a spot in the dance.
“This is what we’ve been building up to,” the coach said.
With much of the 2013 starting lineup still intact, playing out their final year of eligibility, the Bulldogs believe this has the makings to be a special season.
“We’ve been watching this group play since their sophomore year when they only won one game,” Bisso said. “Last season, it was eight wins. Each year, they improve vastly. This year, the sky is the limit.”
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