Peabody cruises past Fenwick after hot start

Peabody's Lizzy Bettencourt, left, and Kayla Landry go up for a block as Fenwick's Caitlin Boyle looks on. (Anne Marie Tobin)

PEABODY — Whenever Peabody and Bishop Fenwick take each other on, you know it’s always going to be memorable for the cross-city rivals.

Thursday night at Fenwick, it was more of the same at an early-season volleyball matchup between the Crusaders and the Tanners, won by the Tanners 4-1.

The Bettencourt sisters, senior setter Abby and sophomore outside hitter Lizzy, had monster games. Abby finished with 24 assists, 14 kills and an ace, while Lizzy finished with 22 kills, three assists and two aces.

Fenwick was led by sisters Lacy and Kylie Murphy. Lacy, a senior, finished with six kills and eight blocks, while Kylie, a junior, finished with five blocks.

“It was a great game by both teams. Peabody coach Lisa Keene said. “It was tense and so close the entire time. Just a great match. We know every time we play Fenwick it’s going to be a tough challenge and tonight that’s what you saw. Just scouting, I knew this was going to be a good game.”

“We were a little bit intimidated at first but they got their rhythm back and came back, obviously losing the first two sets,” Fenwick coach Alexis Bedard said. “I’ve been trying to really focus on their mental game and not giving up and they’ve been doing a really good job with that. We have great physical strength on our team so it’s just a matter of their mental state. They communicate very well, but they’ve been doing really well at coming back.”

Peabody was cruising along, having won the first two sets 25-20 and 25-22, and knocked off the first four points of the third set behind the serve of Abby Bettencourt to lead 4-0. But Fenwick rallied, and went on a 10-5 run to take its first lead of the match, 10-9. During the rest of the set, the largest lead held by either team was three points (16-13, Fenwick). Peabody went on a 9-4 run to lead 22-20, the big play a monster kill by sophomore Lizzy Bettencourt. 

The Crusaders’ response was immediate. An Erin Paul (5 kills) kill that clipped the back line, a serve by Teagan Davenport that handcuffed Peabody’s back line, a winner by Helene Phelan and a soft kill to space from Calli Symond, and just like that, Fenwick was back in it with a 25-22 win to force another set.

Fenwick jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the fourth set and still led by five, 10-5. Peabody took its first lead of the set on a well-placed winner to space by Lizzy Bettencourt to lead 12-11. It was back and forth the rest of the set. With the set tied 22-22, Peabody won three of the last four points – two on Fenwick errors – to secure the set 25-23 and seal the match.

Both teams struggled with their service games in the first set with each making multiple errors on serve.

“We were very inconsistent and I think sometimes it takes some time just to get out of our funk,” Bedard said. 

“We missed nine serves alone in that first set,” Keene said. “I don’t think we’ve missed that many in a match all season. We’ve had some time struggling with our serves but never like that. And Fenwick did the same, it was like ping pong, just back and forth. That’s not how the game is played.”

Bedard highlighted the play of the middle-hitter Murphy sisters, Phelan (12 assists) and libero Louise Marchetti (15 digs).

“Kylie definitely helped keep us in the match early on, she definitely did. She definitely helped bring our energy up,” Bedard said. “Any time you get a block or a strong kill, that hypes you up. It was little bit of a chain reaction when our back row struggled and she couldn’t do what she did early. And Lacy, obviously, has great coordination with the ball and knows just where to put it and get it down.”

“Helene is very smart with the ball. She has great communication and control and she also plays on the right side in the front row,” Bedard said. “Louise had an amazing game today. In the back row, balls that I think are going to go down, she just pops us and gets them out of nowhere.”

Keene said Abby Bettencourt was a key factor in the game. Several of her decisions to skip the set and go for a winner instead had the Crusaders guessing.

“She is super intelligent and super composed,” Keene said. “She can see the other court great and she never gets rattled. She is a great team leader. We can be down by 15 and her message to the team, by her behavior is, we’re going to be fine.”

Keene also highlighted the play of outside hitter Emma Lynch (5 aces, 4 assists), libero Sydney Lynch (4 assists, ace) and middle/outside hitter Kayla Landry (ace, 2 kills, block).

“Emma was playing with a sprained ankle and still had so many aces,” Keene said. “She was consistent all around, as was Sydney. My girls around the net were also so consistent even though you aren’t seeing the numbers, but they are doing their job.”

Bishop Fenwick’s (3-2) next match is Friday at Beverly (5:30) while Peabody (4-1)  is back in action Monday against Masconomet (5:30).

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