SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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November 13, 2013

Crusaders' title chase continues tonight against Notre Dame Academy

(Continued)

“We want to finish,” DeBaggis said. “Our goal at the beginning was to be state champs, and the girls worked hard (towards that) all summer. That’s what they wanted to achieve. The North final was a check on our list, so they were focused (in practice) and not complacent at all. I’m happy about that.”

With the type of leadership he gets from his captains, DeBaggis isn’t surprised that his entire team shows up to play every day.

“They just lead by example. Those four never had a bad day and are never lazy and never negative,” DeBaggis said. “It’s like the movie ‘Larry Bird, A Basketball Legend’. I think Danny Ainge said that Larry used to come with 100 percent every day so everybody else had to. That’s what those four do; they go 100 percent and it sets the tone.”

It seems like Fenwick will need another 100 percent effort tonight against a Notre Dame team that has size and skill. DeBaggis considers Notre Dame outside hitter Julia Flynn one of the best players in the state.

The Crusaders know it won’t be easy, but they believe they have just as good a chance as any team to win the state title.

“They’re very tall, which I think is really the only advantage they have over us physically,” DeBaggis said. “You just have to play smarter because we have smaller hitters. We don’t necessarily have to place our shots, but play smarter. I think you still want to go up and be aggressive. You just have to work harder to make plays.

“It’s like in basketball if you’re playing a team that’s taller, you have to move the ball more. We have to work harder and keep the ball alive. It’s a test of intelligence and endurance, I think.”

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