WAYNE - When rivals River Dell (22-3) and Mahwah (23-5) walked onto the court Thursday evening, no one expected either team to walk away quietly from the North Group 2 sectional finals. And even with both sides committing several errors, the Lady Hawks outlasted the T-Birds in a 25-18, 17-25, 25-15 stunning three-set game.
"When Kate and I were freshman, coach said that our senior year would be it, and it is," senior co-captain Emily Wilts said. "As seniors its fabulous to win, but the real reward is all of the younger players coming out."
Mahwah took an early lead relying on senior Macy Schwartz to set the tempo but River Dell's Mary Maccabee and Kate Brock teamed up to continually push the T-Birds back.
"We threw the first game with five serve errors," Mahwah head coach Dean Rayside said. "You can't do that against a good team. And then we froze in the third game; we were not passing or getting on the offensive. The first game was our chance but we committed to many errors."
After a close first set win over Mahwah, the T-Birds fought back with a vengeance and forced several botched serve returns by the Hawks. Mahwah continued to build momentum taking as much as a 10-point lead before securing the win to set up a third match.
Unfortunately for the T-Birds, a mental block descended at the same time River Dell dropped a hammering 15-points in a row behind strong serving by Brock and serve returns by libero Lindsey Clark.
"Everyone did their job," River Dell head coach Dianne Furusawa said. "Emily [Wilts] played like it was her last high school and didn't want it to end. Lindsay [Clark] did a great job and Sarah [Recanati] is our insurance policy that we can rely on. They all played with heart and soul."
With the upcoming loss of nine seniors, Rayside and his remaining T-Birds will look to remain competative and use the loss as motivation.
MahwahPlayerKillsAssistsDigs Amanda Berkman 12 Macy Schwartz 10 Samantha Wood 8