Loomis volleyball defeated Taft in straight sets on Wednesday in Watertown to win in the quarterfinals of the New England Class A Tournament. The Pelicans advanced to the semifinals against Choate.
The quarterfinal matchup between No. 5-seeded Loomis and No. 4 Taft was the third meeting of these teams this season. In the two previous matches, Loomis lost 3-2 and won 3-0.
On Wedesday, November15, Loomis came out poised and energized in the first set, establishing the tone early behind solid net play from senior Claire Elliott and junior Maya Guyton. Junior Reilly Campbell joined in with strong net play of her own and helped the team extend its lead to five points. The Rhinos stormed back, however, and tied the score at 23. Despite Taft's momentum, Loomis stayed composed and won the set 25-23, thanks to a serving ace from senior Sarah Bennett that sealed set one in favor of the Pelicans.
As energy built in the Taft gym, both teams came out focused in the second set, and fans were treated to solid play from both teams in the back-and-forth set. Neither team built a lead greater than two until late in the game, when Loomis got a serving run from sophomore Sadie Olcott and two key kills from Bennett, giving the Pelicans a lead they did not surrender. Loomis won the second set 25-22.
Loomis struggled throughout the regular season to put together three straight high-level sets, but this time the Pelicans earned six straight points to open the third set. Despite the 6-0 lead and a small service run from senior Emma Straub, Taft clawed back to bring the score within one. Thanks to a huge kill from sophomore Sky Hanley, the Pelicans regained the momentum and dug down on defense. With great digs and a couple of big blocks, Loomis won the third and final set 25-21.
Every player made major contributions to the Loomis win, both on and off the floor. The Loomis bench maintained a comfortable atmosphere while the players on the floor earned points with terrific play offensively and defensively.