The Whaler volleyball team pulled off their most impressive win of the season Saturday afternoon, climbing out of an 0-2 hole to beat the Sandwich Blue Knights 3-2. The Whalers improved their record to 11-6 this season and were led by outside hitter Chloe Marrero, who finished with a team-high 18 kills and Kalina Natcheva, who finished with the highest kill percentage (55.6 percent) in the game for Nantucket with 10 kills on 18 attempts.
“The stands were packed with kids,” head coach Andrew Viselli said. “It was crazy. It was something Nantucket really has never seen before and everyone who was in the stands for this match are now dedicated volleyball fans. I thought it was great experience ahead of the tournament and it was a great performance by the team overall. There is a lot of spirit in this school right now around our sports teams.”
The Whalers lost the first set 21-25. Service and hitting errors proved to be the difference in a tight first set.
“We didn’t play poorly I just think we were pressing to hard and missing our serves when we don’t need to,” Viselli said. “We talk about needing to generate points off the service line and that can lead to the players pressing to hard and making mistakes by trying to make something happen.”
The second set didn’t go any better, with Nantucket taking the 19-25 loss. Viselli felt like his team at that point was still playing well but was leaving points on the court while handing points to the Blue Knights through unforced errors.
“I told them because of that we are really controlling the entire match,” Viselli said. “We just needed to start limiting some of these mistakes and playing within ourselves.”
The Whalers began to move their feet on defense and execute more quality serves in the third set, winning it handily by a score of 25-16.
The fourth set was a neck and neck battle. Viselli said he felt like his team should have closed the set out sooner, but more mistakes extended the set and put Nantucket on the brink of defeat.
“It was going back and forth and it was a matter of who was going to make the error to lose the set,” Viselli said. “What I liked from the girls is they kept playing and maintained their focus. They fed off the fans and the bench. That gave them a boost.”
The Whalers won the fourth set 30-28 to force a fifth set with momentum clearly in Nantucket’s corner. The Whalers jumped out to a quick lead in the final set to establish control and send the student section into a frenzy, giving Nantucket a boost from their home court advantage that they rode to victory in the fashion of a 15-10 fifth set win.
“We aren’t just riding one or two good players,” Viselli said. “On any given day any kid can be the hero and the star on this team. We have a lot of talent and we play well as a collective unit.”
The Whalers will conclude their regular season with their Senior Night on Tuesday, at home, against the Nauset Warriors at 5pm.
Field Hockey Shuts Out Seekonk
The Whaler field hockey team beat the Seekonk Warriors 2-0 Saturday afternoon. Lily Remick and Melanie Bamber were the goal scorers for Nantucket, who now has a 7-8-2 record with two games left in the regular season.
“I thought we had a tough first half and we came out a little flat,” head coach Dan Weber said. “I felt like we were ball watching a lot and not playing aggressively towards the ball. We were kind of just sitting back and playing passive. As we went forward in the game we got more aggressive and started to carry the play much more.”
The Whalers will try to improve to .500 on the season when they host the Nauset Warriors on Tuesday at 4pm.