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November 7, 2013

Top-seeded Peabody volleyball bows out to Haverhill in North semifinals

PEABODY — The Haverhill volleyball team may have entered the gym at Peabody High as an underdog in the seedings, but Tanners head coach Lisa Keene knew the Hillies were anything but.

Haverhill lived up to Keene’s expectations, using precision passing and excellent serving to hand the Tanners their first defeat of the season, 3-0, in a Division 1 North semifinal.

Haverhill prevailed 25-15, 25-23, 25-18 in straight sets to upend top-seeded Peabody (21-1). The momentum swung to the Hillies for good in the second game, when the Tanners staved off two set points but ultimately fell.

“I thought if we got that one, hopefully we’d be able to take the next two (points),” said Keene. “We knew Haverhill was an amazing team. They only had three losses (against) two of the best teams in Division 1, in my opinion.”

The Hillies (18-3) now advance to their third sectional final and first since 2003. They’ll face the winner of tonight’s Andover/North Andover semifinal Saturday at Lawrence High (6 p.m.).

“This means the world to the girls,” said Haverhill coach Bill Kaste. “They’ve worked since they were freshmen and gone a little further in the tournament every year.”

Senior Carolyn Scacchi, Peabody’s all-time leader in kills, collected 15 in her last match for the Tanners. She really got going in the second set, finding a rhythm with sophomore setter Sara Hosman (14 assists) to bring Peabody back from the brink and force a 17-17 tie before Haverhill pulled away.

“We were hoping to stop 34 (Scacchi) but didn’t have too much luck with that,” said Kaste. “She’s a great player. We were able to weather her storm.”

Peabody graduates eight seniors who went 38-3 the last two season and made the North semis for just the second time in program history. Senior Olivia Summitt had eight kills and a block and captains Jillian DiFelice and Katie Gallo were strong at the net.

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