PEABODY — When the volleyball season hits its peak in the state tournament, you don’t want to be matched up against the Valley.
For the ninth year in a row, the Peabody High volleyball squad saw its season end against a team from the Merrimack Valley Conference as No. 7 Central Catholic topped the second-seeded Tanners, 3-1, in a Division 1 North quarterfinal at Peabody High.
Peabody (17-2) fell behind, 2-0, on 25-16 and 25-19 games, then rallied to win the third game. Junior Jillian DiFelica served five straight points to give the hosts the third set, 25-23, but the Raiders scored the first nine points of the fourth and won, 25-13, to seal the match.
“We showed a lot of spunk in that third game, so much that we probably drained ourselves a bit,” said Peabody head coach Lisa Keene. “That game was a big win for us. We played Central in the tournament last year, and they killed us. To me, to get that win was one of the highlights of the season.”
Junior Carolyn Scacchi was a force at the front of the net for the Tanners, collecting two blocks and 13 kills. The 6-foot-2 middle hitter now has 205 kills in her career and is the first Peabody player to pass the 200-kill mark, according to Keene.
Defending North champion Central Catholic (15-5) moves on to the sectional semis at North Andover (17-5) tomorrow. The Raiders were intent on keeping the ball away from Scacchi and used precision passing from setter Olivia Imprescia to do just that.
“She’s big and physical, and we knew coming in we had to stay away from her,” Central coach Gannon Paris said of Scacchi. “We wanted to control the ball and control where we were swinging from to stay away from that strength.”
Imprescia had 42 assists, dishing to 6-foot Amanda Williams (17 kills) on one side and 6-foot-1 Erica Hadad (11 kills) on the other. The versatility made it difficult for Peabody to defend the net and helped Central win the first two games.