Barnstable claims 13th volleyball crown

NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – In Massachusetts volleyball, Barnstable is on par historically with the likes of the Hapsburgs, the Romanovs, the Windsors.

And although the Red Raiders’ reign was interrupted by New Bedford last season, the crown is back in Hyannis after a sort of Meiji Restoration to the Division I ranks occurred on Saturday at Algonquin Regional.

Barnstable claimed its 13th state championship and the seventh in the last eight years with a 3-0 decision over Lincoln-Sudbury.

“There was a thought, outside of Barnstable, that we were going to be really good next year,” Red Raiders head coach Tom Turco quipped. “Not bad. I thought we were going to be really good this year. These seniors deserve it. They kept this team together all year.”

Barnstable (21-2) will only graduate two players, senior captains Devon Bentivegna and Sarah Colby, from this year’s model and seem primed to make yet another run in the upcoming years.

That’s because of the contributions from its underclassmen. The Red Raiders will be in good hands with junior Kaylee Deluga (team high 15 kills) and the sophomore duo of outside hitter Regan Bristol (9 kills) and setter Kayla Crook.

On paper, Barnstable was an “underdog” as the fourth seed out of the South bracket, while the Warriors (21-2) were seeded No. 1 out of the Central/East.

However, the Red Raiders made easy work of L-S in the first game, 25-11.

The Warriors came back to push play in the second as they took an early 6-5 lead in the second set. But the teams exchanged leads four times in an entertaining set before Carolyn Morin emphatically put an end to the Warriors’ run with a spike set up by Crook for a 26-24 second-game win.

The Red Raiders didn’t trail in the third game — a 25-17 tally — and then the celebration was on along with the sizable delegation that made the drive from the Cape and joined in the festivities.

“We were definitely more motivated,” Crook said. “We had a lot more energy during games and we always had our minds set toward our goal, which was winning the state championship.”

After all, absence only makes the heart grow fonder

“When you’re away from it, you miss it,” Turco said, reflecting on last year’s upset. “I wasn’t even in the state, but it was no vacation.”