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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Volleyball’s playoff run ends with semifinal defeat to Wentworth

Michael Najarian
Players of the volleyball team celebrate after scoring a point during their semifinal game against Wentworth.

Suffolk University’s volleyball team traveled to face the Gordon College Fighting Scots in the Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinals. After falling behind 2-0, the Rams rallied to win the final three sets and upset the fourth-seeded Fighting Scots.

The fifth-seeded Rams advanced to the conference semifinals with the win, the second straight year they’ve done so. They lost to the Fighting Scots in the semifinals last year in five sets.

Set one was a tight battle until Gordon pulled away late to take the set 25-23. Gordon rallied late in the second set as well, fending off the Rams’ efforts to win the set 29-27.

The Rams turned it around in set three. Trailing Gordon 24-22, the Rams scored four straight points to win the set 26-24 and force a fourth set. Tied 14-14 in set four, Suffolk scored five straight points before Gordon responded with four of their own to make it 19-18. A 7-0 Suffolk run gave them a 25-18 set win.

Set five started with Gordon in front 5-2. After a 4-2 run by the Rams to trail by just one, they scored three in a row to take a 9-7 lead. The teams went point-for-point the rest of the set, with Suffolk prevailing 15-12, completing the comeback and securing a spot in the semifinals.

McKenna Keowen and Jessica Weber led the Rams statistically, with Weber registering a 19-kill and 17-dig double-double, while Keowen had a 16-kill and 12-dig double-double. After passing the 1,000 assist mark Nov. 4 against Wentworth, Jayla Martinez added 45 assists out of the 53 total from Suffolk in the match.

Suffolk tangled with the top-seeded Wentworth Institute of Technology in the semifinals, with the Leopards going a perfect 8-0 in conference play in the regular season. The Rams fell in four sets, losing 3-1 to Wentworth in the semifinals.

It’s the second straight year that the Rams have lost to the CCC top seed in the semifinals after losing to Gordon in 2022. The Rams are now 1-3 on the road in the CCC playoffs and 0-4 in the semifinals.

Head coach Scott Blanchard stayed positive despite the season-ending loss.

“It’s no accident that Wentworth’s undefeated. We’re a little undermanned but I’m not going to make that excuse,” said Blanchard. “Wentworth is a solid team, they’re gonna make some noise this year, and like I told the girls, every team in the country is gonna end the season with a loss except one. I’m just proud of the way they played, I’m happy with the way the season went.”

Wentworth started the first set with 10-5 and 18-12 leads, with Suffolk calling a timeout down 20-13 in the set. The Leopards then picked up the five points they needed to win the set 25-18.

Set two didn’t start any better for the Rams, with Wentworth scoring nine straight to open the set. Suffolk got the deficit cut to 17-10 to lead to a Wentworth timeout. The Leopards then went on an 8-6 run out of the timeout to win set two by a 25-16 score.

Head coach Scott Blanchard talks to the team during a timeout in volleyball’s semifinal matchup against Wentworth. (Michael Najarian)

Wentworth went on a 7-3 run to open the third set before Suffolk went on a 12-10 run, making Wentworth’s lead 17-15. Suffolk then scored three points to take an 18-17 lead to force a timeout from Wentworth. The Rams took the momentum and went on a 7-1 run out of the timeout to win the set 25-18 and force a fourth set.

Blanchard credited getting back to their style of play for the set victory.

“We just needed to control the ball,” said Blanchard. “Once we started controlling the ball and serving, then we were fine. Once we got them on their heels and rattled a bit and we started blocking at the net, the game’s pretty easy when you can control the ball.”

Wentworth started set four on a 10-3 run, prompting a Rams timeout. Wentworth went on a 5-2 run out of the timeout to take a 15-5 lead, forcing Blanchard to call his second and final timeout of the set. The Rams scored four straight to make it 15-9 before Wentworth went on a 10-4 run to win the set 25-13, ending the Rams’ season.

Blanchard was proud of the effort the team put forth throughout the night.

“I thought they all played well,” said Blanchard. “We were swimming uphill, I thought they all played well, they all played hard, I’m proud of all of them.”

The Rams now turn their attention to next season, building on a group of returners that Blanchard is optimistic about.

“We’re gonna do some recruiting, we gotta bring in some freshmen, but we got a good core for at least another year.”

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About the Contributor
Michael Najarian, Asst. Sports Editor | he/him
Michael is a sophomore print/web journalism major from Framingham, Massachusetts. He’s also a member of the Cross Country and Track & Field teams. Outside of running and writing for the Journal, Michael is an avid Boston sports fan who will be seen watching sports quite frequently. After graduation, Michael is looking for a career in the sports industry. Follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelNaj3

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    Leo WoodsNov 13, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    Love the Mike photojournalism arc