ATHOL -- In what was supposed to be their first true test of the season, the Athol High School varsity volleyball team swept Turners Falls 26-24, 25-19, 25-18.
The Raiders entered the match having won all 18 sets they had played. The Indians (6-2) were supposed to be the team that ended that run, but Athol extended the streak to 21.
"Obviously I'm ecstatic about that," said Merron. "We've always had trouble with Turners and we didn't today so I'm very happy about that."
Athol jumped out early in the first set, but the Indians rallied back before succumbing, 26-24.
"The girls jumped out and we knew Turners wouldn't quit," said Merron. "They've had many matches where they've been down and come back to win. We knew that's what we were up against and they came right back. It was a well fought game and we came out on top."
Things were tied at 12 in game two, but Lexi Hamlett served Athol to a 16-12 lead and the Indians never got closer than three the rest of the way. Annie MacLean finished off the game two win with a kill.
In the third set, the Indians were leading 9-8 before Krystal Campbell took over at the service line. Campbell served up eight straight points and the Raiders suddenly were cruising to a 16-9 lead. It was a game-changing run for Athol.
"She swung the momentum," said Merron. "Volleyball is a game of runs and it was back-and-forth until Krystal stepped up. She served really well."
When Athol regained the serve, Hamlett ripped off six consecutive points to give the Raiders a 23-11 lead and they coasted to the finish from there.
Hamlett handed out 25 assists to go with three aces. Tessa Neverett recorded eight kills and 15 digs. MacLean had four kills and 22 digs. Campbell tallied 20 digs, three aces and two kills.
Athol (7-0) has a big showdown with rival Mahar on Wednesday.
"We will be ready for them and we will work on a few things and focus on what we need to do for Wednesday," said Merron.
The contest will also be the "Dig Pink" night in Athol. Fundraising events include a bake sale, 50/50 and t-shirt sales.
Athol won the junior varsity contest 25-10, 25-8, 15-6.
Shelby Roussel recorded seven aces. Selenia Coburn had three aces. Sophie LaRoche passed well and recorded six digs.