In a championship match-up of #1-seeded Loomis and #3-seeded Deerfield, it was the Big Green who emerged victorious from a back-and-forth match, 3-2. The win makes Deerfield the 2021 NEPSGVA Class A Champions!
Deerfield showed up ready to play and got out to a small early advantage while Loomis kept it close with good hitting. It was clear that the winning team would need to take advantage of tactical mismatches and exploit opportunities when they were available. Deerfield looked like they would be able to do that in the first set, but strong serving from Loomis and some inconsistent passing from Deerfield allowed Loomis to take the first set, 21-25.
In the second frame, Deerfield was able to shake off that first set and play much more consistently to even the overall tally with a score of 25-16.
The third set swung back into Loomis’s direction as they exploited some mismatches and were able to gain points in a couple of rotations that gave them the set, 18-25.
The fourth set started off in Loomis’s favor and it looked like they were on their way to their second title in three years, but Deerfield found another gear in shifting the momentum. Heartfelt speeches in the huddle during our timeout and a big block from Daphne Gavros in the front row energized the team and brought the score to even and then to a Deerfield lead which we extended to take the set, 25-19, and force a deciding frame.
Deerfield got right to business in the fifth set, pushing out to an early lead on the strength of our great serving. Zoe Gavros ‘23 and Elle Stearns ‘23 were locked in as passers, Daphne Gavros ‘22 was distributing the ball well to our hitters (as well as getting another big block), Natalie Meyer ‘23 was a big presence at the net, Cate Shanahan ‘23 was clutch from the outside, and Caroline Weller ‘23 had kills from the opposite and the outside positions. Loomis used good hitting to go on a run and tie the score at 8-8 before a big block from Evie Mokarow ‘24 gave us the sideout and a chance to serve. A Zoe Gavros ace was followed by both teams trading sideouts until Georgia Sackrey ‘23 got the serve. With the score 13-11, Deerfield got its final two points on a great kill in the middle from Mokarow and then a service ace from Sackrey. With a final set score of 15-11, Deerfield emerged with an incredible comeback win!
Emily Rice ‘24 and Loran McGruder ‘24 may not have been on the court today, but their efforts in practice every day and their sideline calls and presence were a big part of the win.
Congratulations to a very-talented Loomis team on their impressive season.
It takes lots of support to make these moments possible. Huge appreciation to everyone in the Athletics Department and to all the students, faculty, and staff who supported us throughout the season and during the playoffs. Thank you!
Deerfield set a number of program records this year: most wins in the regular season (16); most wins overall (19); first time advancing to the league finals; and first time as New England Class A champions. It has been an incredible privilege to get to work with this team. Thank you for such an amazing season!!!