SMASH 17s fought their way to a first place finish in 17 Open Gold at the Mizuno Boston Volleyball Festival this weekend.
Things did not start out in championship form for the team as they faced a challenging pool including California-based Mountain View Volleyball Club. After a close two-set win over Mass Premier 17 Black (25-20, 25-23) and a quick destruction of Legion Volleyball Club 17-1 (25-16, 25-11) the team lost to MVVC Renegades 2-0 beginning with a tough 26-28 loss in set one.
Head Coach Richard Barton was pleased with the team's improvement over the course of the tournament.
"“They became increasingly cohesive and positive in group energy as the tournament went on," Barton said.
With a second place finish in the first pool. SMASH faced an uphill climb to get in position for the Gold. After taking down Rebel Attack 25-22, 25-18 in the first match, the team dropped set one to Lakeside Riptide 20-25 but battled back with a convincing 25-14 set two win and carried that momentum to take set three 15-12.
After the war with Lakeside, the final match of the pool with Husky 17 Northeast must have seemed like an anticlimactic way to win the pool as SMASH cruised to a 25-11, 25-6 win and Gold bracket entry.
Barton said the team did an excellent job preparing for bracket play the next day.
"In particular they were tremendously organized, arriving very early and getting warmed up and that was all their decision."
That set the team up for an epic 2-1 semifinal victory over TCA Philly 17 Fight. After winning a close first set 25-22, SMASH struggled in set 2 and lost 15-25. The team showed their resilience to bounce back and take set three 15-10.
With a rematch against Rebel Attack on the table for the Open Gold final, SMASH wasted little time jumping on the NY club to take set one 25-15, but had to battle to a 26-24 win to take the championship.
"They just sort of aced the last day," Barton said.