Edgartown claims middle school volleyball title

Eagles top Tisbury in four sets.

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The Edgartown School volleyball team defeated visiting Tisbury on Thursday to capture their third consecutive Island championship. After dropping the first game, 25-21, the Eagles won three straight in convincing fashion to take the title, 3-1.

This was a much-anticipated championship rematch between two skilled and experienced teams. Edgartown, featuring eight eighth-graders, came into the contest with only one regular-season loss; that loss was to Tisbury.

The match did not disappoint. Game one was a seesaw battle featuring long rallies and sparkling individual plays. Smart setups and point-winning spikes were frequent. The game turned in Tisbury’s favor at the end, with Finn Lewis and Jonathan Norton delivering big plays to clinch the set.

Edgartown came roaring back in game two, winning 25-5. Eighth graders Hiaggo Goncalves and Gabe Brito, standouts throughout the match, led the way with their strong all-around play.

The third game was the turning point in the match, and Edgartown stalwart Isabelle Murphy’s run of eight consecutive winning serves was the turning point in the game. Isabelle took the service with the score tied at 10-10. With a slight run-up to her delivery, she launched her serves accurately and with some punch. When her streak ended, the Eagles led, 18-10. Despite a mild Tisbury comeback, Edgartown closed out the game on top, 25-18.

Tisbury did not go down easily, but with momentum on their side, Edgartown took control of game four at the midway point. Leading 13-9, the Eagles rode Gabe Brito’s four winning serves, and two blocks by sixth grader Geovane Meikle, to go up 17-9. Fittingly, the final point of the match resulted from a save, leading to a setup, leading to a put-away by eighth grader Jordan Coyle.

Both teams displayed impressive fundamentals and teamwork throughout the match. The level of play and the excitement it generated were much appreciated by the supportive and vocal fans.

Both coaches expressed pride in their team’s effort and performance. “Our kids put in a lot of work this year, and it paid off,” said Edgartown Coach Gary Smith. “Volleyball involves many types of individual plays and skills. Our players discovered what they’re capable of this year.”

Tisbury Coach Emily Anderson cited individual skill improvement and a strong team spirit as highlights of the season. “They went from just bumping the ball back over the net to setting up pass-set-spike plays almost every rally,” she said. “They did a great job challenging each other in practice and being inclusive of each other regardless of skill level.”

It appears the Edgartown-Tisbury volleyball rivalry won’t be diminishing anytime soon. Both teams are large in number, and both have younger players returning next year. That’s good news for Island volleyball fans.