Swampscott beats St. Mary’s in straight sets

From left, Swampscott's Aniyah Ross, Sofia Comfort, and Jamila Oriakhi celebrate the win over St Mary's. (Joe Brown)

SWAMPSCOTT — It was a battle of the setters at Richard Lynch Gymnasium as Swampscott (2-1) took care of business at home against St. Mary’s (2-2) with a 3-0 final score. 

Jamila Oriakhi got the party started in the first set for the Big Blue, as her two straight service aces to start the game gave Swampscott the early advantage. But the Spartans showed their fight, crawling back from what was an 11-5 lead for the Big Blue, which they turned into a 20-19 lead in their favor.

After the Spartans took the one-point lead, Swampscott coach Amanda Clement called a timeout to get her team settled and to stop the bleeding, which she was able to successfully accomplish. The Big Blue scored eight of the last 13 points to win the first set in a dramatic 27-25 finish. 

“It was a slow start for us,” Clement said. “We had a lot of errors in the first set, a lot of service errors, and just frankly errors in general, we gave them a lot of points.” 

The second set started much of the same for the Big Blue, jumping out to a five point lead over the Spartans. But, St. Mary’s wouldn’t quit, pulling the score within one after two back-to-back aces from setter Lorynes Suriel. 

However as the set went on, the Big Blue started to find their offensive rhythm, and the Spartans’ mistakes started to pile up. Swampscott cruised to a 25-16 win in set two, and much of that had to do with the play of setter Oriakhi. She added four more assists in the set, and controlled the pace for the Big Blue offensively and defensively, which drew praise from Clement. 

“She’s fantastic,” Clement said. “She’s really athletic and just has a great volleyball sense in general. So whatever the play is she knows how to get there and how to handle each situation really well.”

Oriakhi finished the game with 10 assists, four aces, one block, and one kill. 

The Big Blue finished things quickly in the third set, finally finding their full stride and playing to their potential. After jumping out to an 8-2 lead, Swampscott’s Sofia Clement went on an 11-point service run, pushing the score to 19-2 in Swampscott’s favor. 

At 17 points, this gave Swampcott its biggest lead in the game, and set the team up for a 25-13 set win, and a match sweep in straight sets. 

St. Mary’s coach Ivana Nunez thought her team was simply “really out of it today”, but looked on the bright side for future games. 

“I would say energy on the bench stayed up, and they tried to keep each other involved.” Nunez said. 

Nunez also had high praise for her setter after the tough loss.

“[Suriel] I think really tried to fight to keep us in it today,” Nunez said. 

Suriel finished the game with five assists, four kills, and two aces in the loss. 

As for Clement, she looked forward to building on the early success Swampscott has had this season and pushing her team for more of the same. 

“We just hope to keep building on it,” Clement said. “We’re running into an away stretch. We’re gonna see how that goes. But there’s a lot of teams that we’ve played before, we know them, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.” 

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