First-year coach David Thorne proved that the 3rd time is the charm, as the Quakers defeated St. Tim’s 3 games to 1 to capture their 1st IAAM Volleyball Championship since 2010.
Playing in their 3rd Championship game in the last 4 years the Quakes were looking for some redemption, as SJCP defeated the Quakes 3 – 0 in 2016 and Indian Creek did the same in last year’s finale. In a highly competitive back and forth match, the Quakes jumped out of the gate in game 1 behind the serving of Senior Co-Captain Natalie Shmerler '20 to take a 6 to 2 lead as St. Tim’s called a timeout. St. Tim’s stormed back and cut the lead to 6 to 5 after the timeout, but the quakes behind the hitting of Tess Gilmore ’22 pushed the lead 5 at 20 to 15 as St. Tim’s took another timeout. Once again St. Tim’s stormed back and tied the game at 23. The Quakes put the game away scoring the final two points of game 1 as Jaya Mandala '20 slammed the door on St. Tim’s. The Quakes have won their 1st game of a Championship Match in 4 years, as we headed to Game 2.
Game 2 was more of the same as the teams went back and forth. Isabella Foust '21 started the Quakes off on the right foot with an ace, but St. Tim’s would start to take control of Game 2 and took an 11 to 7 lead as the Quakes took a timeout. After the timeout St. Tim’s stretched the lead out to 18 – 11, before the Quakes started to mount a comeback behind the serving of Anna Wallengren '22 and Isabella Foust as they cut the St. Tim’s lead to 2, but that would be as close as they would get as St. Tim’s tied the match up at 1 game each with a 25 to 18 victory.
In-Game 3 of the best of 5 match St. Tim’s seemed to build on the momentum of their Game 2 win as they ran out to a 6 to 2 lead as Quakes coach called a timeout to settle things down. After the timeout, that is exactly what happened as Isabella Foust again with an ACE, as the Quakes quickly took 4 of the next 5 points to cut the lead to 1 still trailing 7 to 6. St. Tim’s called a timeout but the Quakes kept up the pressure grabbing a lead a 10 to 9 for the 1st time in game 3. Kennedy Walls '22 made sure St. Tim’s stayed behind the Quakes with some clutch serving as the lead was pushed to 20 to 16. St. Tim’s would never get any closer as the Quakes took Game 3 25 to 18 and led the match 2 game to 1…1 game away from their 1st championship in 9 years.
Game 4 started well for the Quakes as Jaya Mandala’s smash gave the Quakes an early 4 to 1 lead. St. Tim’s would battle all game long, never allowing the Quakes more than a 3-point advantage. St. Tim’s look a timeout with the Quakes leading 16 to 13 and once again, as this match was the entire way grabbed the momentum away from the Quakes and tied the game at 18 and then took a 21 to 20 lead and after trading points lead 22 to 21 as the coach Thorne called his final timeout of the game. After the timeout, St. Tim’s took a 23 to 21 lead, but as they had done all day the Quakes rallied behind their serve game, this time Natalie Shmerler once again had an ace to cut the lead to 1. After 2 more excellent serves and a smash by Lauren Adams ‘21, the Quakes led 24 to 23, one point away from the championship. Natalie served the St. Tim’s Libero and after St. Tim’s gave the Quakes a free ball, Kennedy Walls passed to Natalie Shmerler, who set Tess Gilmore out wide…Tess did the rest as St. Tim’s couldn’t handle her smash and the Quakes had a 3 games to 1 victory as the student body stormed to court to celebrate with the team.
In his 1st season in the program coach David Thorne led the team to the 5th Volleyball championship in school history and their 1stIAAM championship since 2010. This was the 3rd IAAM Championship for Friends as they also won in 1999. The Quakes ended the year with a 12 game winning streak and the 45 wins over the last 4 years are also the most in school history.