LA News Archive
Groton, MA – The good word came late Sunday afternoon.
After winning six of their last seven matches and compiling a 12-9 record (7-7 ISL), varsity volleyball will be Lawrence Academy’s entry into the Fall 2016 NEPSAC playoffs.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the team,” said Head Coach Steve Engstrom. “It has been such a rewarding progression from last year.”
Last year, LA volleyball was last in the eight team ISL and 19th in the 25 team NEPSAC. This fall, the Spartans were fourth and seventh, respectively.
“The confidence of the five returning seniors this season helped to set the positive and optimistic tone for the season,” said Mr. Engstrom. “We surprised ourselves with our success and we’ve only become stronger in the last few weeks of the season.
“We’re all really excited!”
The entire school is thrilled to see red, white, and blue on the Class-B NEPSAC bracket.
“We are so proud of the girls on the volleyball team and coaches Engstrom and Mordeno on earning a Class-B New England playoff berth,” said Athletic Director Kevin Potter. “They have all worked so hard this year and it is great to see them extend their season.
“They are an exciting team to watch and I hope the school community will come out to support the team at Middlesex on Wednesday.”
Lawrence Academy, the seventh seed, will have their work cut out for them. The Spartans faced second-seeded Middlesex twice this year and fell on both occasions (Sept. 24, Nov. 9) to their tough ISL foe.
However, it’s clear that the coaching staff feels that their group is ready for the challenge.
“This team has been playing together for a few years, though this year they have become a cohesive unit,” said Assistant Coach Dina Mordeno. “They are a supportive, trusting and fearless group of young woman, who have all lead by example.
“There is a full range of age and experience, yet each has improved and developed as a player through hard work and focus.
"We have made the playoffs because of sheer determination,” she said.
Senior Co-Captain Abigail Cote echoed the thoughts of the staff as she spoke about her in-the-moment feelings following the team’s 3-0 win over Buckingham Brown & Nichols; a victory that set up the Spartans selection for the postseason.
“I was on the floor,” said Abigail as she recounted the entire team rushing together after the final point of the senior day match on Nov. 12. “I think we knew we were going to win – we were playing really well and I was having fun.
“It was just really exciting. There was a lot of energy in the gym and we all came together."
And as a senior who has seen the program grow over her four seasons, "amazing" was the superlative Cote chose to characterize the Spartans rise up the ISL standings.
“I mean, my freshman year was the first time I had ever played volleyball,” admitted Abigail with a big smile. “We didn’t win a single game.
“So that contrast to this year makes me really happy and just really proud of how far the team’s come.
“We have a lot of three or four year players, so it’s a great experience for all of us,” she said.
Lawrence Academy travels to Concord to take on Middlesex School on Wednesday, November 16, at 4:00 p.m.