In both games, the Dodgers worked hard to take control and pull ahead only to have Science Park come from behind and, ultimately, defeat them, 26-24, 27-25, at Jefferson High School.
Most upsetting to Madison was the second game when it needed one point to stretch the match to three sets. Up 24-21, the Dodgers couldn't finish. There was a long serve by the Dodgers and two Science Park kills. Science Park pulled even, 24-24, on a deep kill by Domenique Gerard.
The rest of the way, Madison got its lone point on Kate Taylor's kill for 25-25. Science Park got its final two points on another long serve and a kill by Patricia Bergamasco.
"We just couldn't close it out," Dodgers coach Stephen Fenton said. "Bad serves plagued us in both games and allowed them to get back in."
Science Park, meanwhile, reveled in its ability to overcome deficits.
"We kept it together," Science Park coach Amable Martinez said. "We kept our composure. We were facing game point and we didn't let anything drop."
Martinez felt that a call in the second set had an impact on the momentum.
With the Chargers holding a 20-19 edge, there was a controversial play. Science Park hit a kill attempt into the net but felt it still deserved the point because Madison (20-3) committed a net violation before the error occurred. From there, the Dodgers reeled off four more points. Science Park took command after that.
The first game was similar. Madison went out in front 21-17 when Science Park slugged a serve over the endline. That advantage, too, dwindled as Gerard, an outside hitter, hammered the ball down. Gerard finished with 17 kills, 10 in the first set. Teammate Briana Guzman, headed to St. John's, wasn't a big factor because the Dodgers were well aware of her abilities.
"When (Guzman) goes up, butts have to go down," Lennon said. "We didn't dig her. We kept her down for the most part."
Rachael Neilan had an excellent service run in the opening game for Science Park. Nielan served seven consecutive points, all near the end.
"We were a little anxious," Lennon said. "We let their server get a run on us."
There was a bit of controversy in the first game as well. Two of the Madison players' numbers weren't reversed in the official scorebook and that meant its outside hitter wasn't in the right spot. Still, the Dodgers performed well.
Joellen Kentner, a senior middle hitter, had seven kills, five service points and two digs for Madison. Kate and Margy Taylor had five kills apiece for the Dodgers.
Fenton was pleased with his squad's success considering they played the season without senior setter Zinta Putenis, who tore her ACL.
"We had to restructure the entire lineup," Fenton said. "The team survived a lot considering how we started. Jen Vorel stepped in for Zinta and had outstanding year."
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