It’s playoff time and no team wants to go home.
That’s what Becky Balfour told her Hollis Brookline High School girls volleyball team before Wednesday’s Division I preliminary round match against Dover, and the No. 5 Cavaliers nearly learned it the hard way.
No. 12 Dover, the defending division champions, took a 2-1 lead before HB came back to win Game 4 and 5 convincingly and advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2011. Game scores were 25-11, 23-25, 22-25, 25-14 and 15-9.
The Cavs (14-5) will play again on Saturday at No. 4 Salem, which swept No. 13 Timberlane also on Wednesday.
“We knew it was going to be tough,” Balfour said. “Nobody wants to go home. We told the girls, we’ve taken teams that were like 11th and gone to the final. Nobody wants to go home, so we knew we were going to have a really good match. It felt good battling with (Dover).”
HB got big games from juniors Maddy Blake (19 kills) and Bella Zampieri (13 kills), while Emma Tanner had 37 assists and Emily Cook had 17 service points.
But it was the defensive work of Selene Berube and Kaitlyn Kozsan that helped the Cavs turn the match around after dropping two close games.
“Those at the back end, they were picking things up left and right,” Balfour said. “It was a whatever-it-took kind of thing. It was nice to see that collective effort.”
Dover (9-10) got a big game from Lisa Bean, who had 15 digs and 10 kills, while Mary Zlotosch and Cheyenne Garcia also had 10 kills apiece. Mackenzie Geppert added 28 assists and Chelsea Sihombing chipped in with 12 digs.
The Cavs dominated the first game, closing it out with a 9-1 run, but the Green Wave fought back after trailing early in the second and led most of the way. In both Games 2 and 3, Dover held the lead and didn’t flinch when HB closed to within one point late.
“I thought they played with composure and did well,” Dover coach Colleen Harte said. “We just made too many errors and that adds up.”
HB moves on to face Salem, a team it defeated in three games on Oct. 17. That match is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Saturday.