Unforced Errors Key in Stoughton High Volleyball's Loss to Canton
The Black Knights lost to Canton in straight sets Tuesday evening, falling to 3-5 on the season.
In the first three seasons, the Black Knights only won a handful of games, including only three, a year ago. However, Stoughton still looked ready to emerge as a top team as it lost 16 sets by only two points.
This season, the team has already equaled that win total and on Tuesday afternoon, Stoughton hosted Hockomock League and Davenport Division rival Canton with first place in the division on the line.
The talented Bulldogs (7-1 overall, 6-1 league and now 4-0 division) held off a vastly improved Stoughton team, 3-0, winning in straight sets, 25-12, 25-15 and 28-26.
Stoughton (3-5 overall, 2-5 league and 2-2 division) are led by the four seniors that have been with the program all four of its years. Julia Quattrucci is a setter and a two-year captain, Katherine Chlus is an outside hitter and tri-captain, Andrea Chica is a two-time Hockomock league All-Star as the team’s libero and a tri-captain. Chica has compiled over 1,200 digs in her first three seasons. Then there is Malykah Lopes who is an outside hitter.
The Black Knights also got solid efforts from junior Nicole Daniels who played a strong net game as the middle hitter and middle blocker, Emma Zuk, a junior setter, and Lauren Carmichael, a junior opposite/middle, along with senior Anthony Jeudy, a defensive specialist.
Kayla Motley, a sophomore, played a very strong game at the net for Stoughton. Nobrina Seng, a senior, and juniors Gabby Medina and Kadijah Dansey all filled out the 12-player roster.
In the first set, Canton jumped out to a 5-0 advantage and cruised to a 25-12 win. Julia Murphy, a junior, (eight blocks and nine kills) along with older sister Olivia Murphy (10 blocks) led the way for the Bulldogs.
In the second set, Stoughton responded with a quick 4-0 lead. Daniels (two blocks), Motley (five blocks), Quattrucci (19 assists) and Chica (36 first hits) helped the Black Knights’ effort. Unfortunately, unforced errors by Stoughton helped Canton take the lead, 10-9, and take over the second set on its way to a 25-15 win.
“The first set we were ready for everything, but we didn’t finish and in the second set we beat ourselves with errors and long hits that went out,” Gay said.
Stoughton had more than 50 unforced errors, enough to lose two full sets, while a disciplined Canton team only had three unforced errors throughout the match.
“We were able to come back by making very few errors and with our depth and versatility,” Canton coach Pat Cawley said. “We moved people all around to play different positions. We have gotten used to playing in big games and stayed poised.”
In the third set, Stoughton looked to be in cruise control with a commanding 16-6 lead. Canton began to make a comeback led by the Murphy sisters and senior co-captains, outside hitter Alison McHugh and setter Shannon Brady.
Canton cut the deficit to 16-12. Stoughton answered with the next three points to go up 19-12. But, Canton then began to dominate the net, winning the next nine of 11 points to tie the score, 21-21. The teams exchanged points with Canton taking the lead and having five different match points, until finally securing the victory on a block by Julia Murphy.
Canton is next in action on Monday, hosting Attleboro. Stoughton will need to win six of its last ten games to qualify for postseason and will have a busy next week, with three games in four days.
On Monday, the Black Knights will travel to King Philip. On Wednesday they will host Coyle & Cassidy in a non-league game and on Thursday, Stoughton will host Attleboro.
“Despite this loss, we were able to experience playing in a big game against a tough team and now we set our goal to make the (postseason) tournament and we can do it if we stop beating ourselves,” Gay said.