Red-hot volleyball team tops Milford to move to 4-0By Jay Turner
The Canton High varsity volleyball team continued its scorching start to the 2012 season as the Bulldogs cruised past Milford 3-0 on the road last Thursday to remain undefeated.
A perennial Hockomock League powerhouse, Canton is now 4-0 through the first three weeks of the season and has not lost a set since its season opener against North Attleboro. In addition to Milford, the Bulldogs have also beaten Attleboro on the road and defending Kelly-Rex Division champion Franklin at home.
The catalyst for much of the team’s success has been senior captain Julia Murphy, a three-sport standout athlete and one of the best outside hitters in the Hock. On Thursday against Milford, Murphy teamed with junior middle hitter Avery Devoe to lead the Bulldogs to an easy 25-14 victory in the opening set. The duo combined for 13 kills while sophomore setter Erin Proctor calmly and efficiently quarterbacked the offense.
The Bulldogs were similarly dominant throughout set two, winning 25-10 behind strong performances from Ellie Teague and Kim Frazier on offense and Danielle Arthur and Shay Connolly on defense. Senior setter Kaitlin Phillips also made her return from a lengthy illness and played well, according to head coach Pat Cawley.
The third set proved to be the weakest of the three for the Bulldogs, although they managed to hang on for a 25-20 win, led by Abbey Willis, who came off the bench to serve for 12 points.
Overall, Cawley was impressed with the team’s performance against Milford, noting that the Hockomock’s newest member has a “strong tradition of volleyball” and had knocked Canton out of the postseason just two seasons ago.
Meanwhile, a week earlier in the CHS gym, the Bulldogs scored an even bigger victory when they took down rival Franklin in straight sets, avenging last season’s dramatic loss in the annual Hockomock Classic game.
Rated among the top 20 teams in the region going into the match, the Panthers gave Canton a battle in all three sets, but the hosts stood tall, winning 25-18, 25-19, 25-20.
Murphy was outstanding on offense for the Bulldogs, finishing with 20 kills, two aces and two blocks. Other top performers included Proctor, who started in place of Phillips and tallied 20 assists; Devoe, who kept Franklin’s big hitter in check and added four kills; senior libero Mellyn Costello, who played excellent defense with 19 digs; and Jackie Bornemann, who had some big serves and played a solid overall game.
Numerous players also contributed to the team’s earlier win at Attleboro (25-6, 25-15, 25-20) on Tuesday, September 11. Proctor and junior Meghan Hartnett shared the setting duties, while Murphy paced the offense with 12 kills and four aces. Teague also played well off the bench, adding three big kills.
Now in first place, the Bulldogs will face a tough test as they prepare to play six matches over the next two weeks, including four straight at home beginning with Oliver Ames on Monday. The team will then host Sharon tonight and Quincy on Friday, followed by a home date with Foxboro on Monday, October 1.
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