FARMINGTON – Farmington discovered what Berlin learned last week.
Those in line to challenge for a Northwest Conference volleyball title this season can file in behind RHAM.
The Sachems turned in a nearly flawless performance Tuesday in cruising past the Indians, 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-17, 25-17), at the Farmington High Gym. Setter Mallory Mangan set the tone for the unbeaten Sachems (6-0) with 39 assists. The senior with the soft hands hung well-placed balls for her hitters all over the floor. Shelley O’Keefe led the way with 20 kills, many coming from the back row. Molly Rathbun had nine, and Kelsey Welling and Tessa Smolinski carded six each.
“Our strongest attribute is great outside hitting and the ability to hit from any spot on the court,” said Mangan, who refined her skills by setting to herself incessantly while watching movies on television.
The victory provided a degree of revenge for RHAM, which finished third in the NWC behind Farmington and Berlin a year ago.
“Farmington was the only team to beat us twice last year and I know they’re capable of playing well,” RHAM coach Tim Guernsey said. “We only lost one senior and we have six seniors who are gung-ho.”
Farmington coach Laura Arena would have liked to borrow a little of that gung-ho. Disappointed with the effort turned in by some of her seniors, Arena substituted liberally in the fourth game.
“We came up short in positions where I expect more from,” she said. “We made far too many unforced errors.”
The first game was nip-and-tuck but the Sachems pulled away after Farmington evened the score at 13. Kills by Rathbun and O’Keefe helped bury the Indians (5-1).
Farmington won the second game but never led by more than three points. A five-point rally with RHAM leading 16-15 featured Dani Piendak and Jess Frankowski taking care of business at the net and Amy Johnson knocking down serves.
RHAM tied the game at 24 but a net violation and a very rare miscommunication on a pass resulted in its lone game setback of the season.
A nine-point service run by Rathbun (25-for-25 serving, 17 digs) sank Farmington in the third game. The Indians stayed close halfway through the final game but the unforced errors piled up against a team tht makes very few.
“We’re just scrappy,” Mangan said. “That’s our philosophy, be scrappy.”
©The Herald 2008