Canton girls help lead Ursuline to south finals


Some teams save their best performances for when it matters most, and that was certainly the case this fall for the Ursuline Academy varsity volleyball team, which went on a magical run to the brink of a south sectional championship.

L-R: Katie Murphy, Niamh Sutherburg, Allie Erk Thompson and Jenny Weston

L-R: Katie Murphy, Niamh Sutherburg, Allie Erk Thompson and Jenny Weston

Led by Canton residents Alexandra Erk Thompson, Niamh Sutherburg, Katie Murphy, and Jenny Weston, the ninth-seeded Bears ripped off three consecutive straight-set victories before bowing to Case High School 3-2 in the Division 3 south tournament finals.

Kali Joseph, the coach of the Bears, spoke with pride of their successful season. “We had a good winning stretch,” she said. “I got to see them play some of the best games of their lives.”

Joseph played 11 of the players in each game. “It was really a team effort,” she added, explaining one of the reasons the team achieved so much.

Joseph went on to describe the team as a group of girls in whom she saw a lot of potential, and who could achieve anything on the court with hard work. “I was impressed by this group of kids,” she said. “They really clicked. They played well together and got along well off the court, too.”

In an article from the November 7 issue of the Cape Cod Times, reporter Russ Carpenter described the impact that Erk Thompson and Weston had in their sectional semifinal matchup against the Sturgis East High School Storm.

“The Storm had trouble matching up with Ursuline’s impressive front line,” he wrote, “led by senior captain Allie Erk Thompson, who had 10 kills and a block. Senior captain Morgan O’Donnell had nine kills and two blocks, and junior captain Jenny Weston recorded 20 assists.”

Joseph described Erk Thompson as “powerful and tenacious,” adding that she is also an outstanding student. “She’s very passionate about volleyball.”

In the game against Case, Erk Thompson had a total of 24 kills, three aces and five blocks. She began playing volleyball as a sixth grader with the Canton Cobras club team and later played for the Newton-based club team Smash.

Junior captain Weston was able to warm up before a game and know exactly if her teammates were doing what they should to get ready for the match. “[Erk Thompson and Weston] both have an awesome presence,” Joseph said. “Jenny knows more about volleyball and our team than me. She’s an absolutely brilliant player.” Weston also played for Smash.

Joseph said that Sutherburg is an excellent student who is quieter than her teammates, but an intense player. On the court, “she is a lot more aggressive and solid on defense,” Joseph said. Sutherburg played for Southern Alliance, a club team based in Kingston.

Murphy was one of the team’s defensive specialists. “She has a really great sense of humor that she brings with her onto the court,” Joseph said of the enthusiastic player who rolled her ankle as she went through the high-five line after a game earlier in the season and wound up missing a few games. “She’s also a really great student.” Murphy also played for the Canton Cobras.

The four players were supported during the tournament by Erk Thompson’s sister, Nicole, an eighth grader at Ursuline, and Sutherburg’s sister, Ciara, a sophomore at the school.

“They came up to help out,” Joseph said. “They practiced with the rest of the team. Nicole helped manage the team. They were really supportive little sisters.”

The other members of the Bears are Eleni Haberis, Camille Kelley, Brittany O’Malley, Erin Olson, Libby Lawler, Morgan O’Donnell, Kristen McNeil, Kate Freeman, and Abby Black.

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avatar Posted by on Nov 26 2014. Filed under Beyond CHS, Sports. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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