Lawrence Academy Girls’ Volleyball Takes the New England Class B Title

Groton, Mass. — After a 3-0 victory over Governor’s Academy on Sunday, Lawrence Academy Varsity Volleyball Head Coach Steve Engstrom smiled ear-to-ear as he recounted his club’s journey from also-rans to NEPSAC champions. 

“Oh Man, what a game,” said the deceivingly intense, bespectacled coach of the Spartans. “[I remember] three years ago after the first playoff loss in the quarterfinals; then the semi-finals last year. Then we made it to the finals this year.

“We’re really excited about how it turned out.”


Watch the entire championship game… 


As far as Mr. Engstrom’s understatement goes, the entire LA community — many of whom were in the gym to witness LA’s latest NEPSAC title — were pretty pleased, as well.

Far from the easy 3-0 romp belied on the scoreboard, Governor’s girls’ varsity volleyball, a tried-and-true ISL foe, gave the Spartans all they could handle early.

“It was an exciting game from start to finish,” said the coach, trying to calculate stats in his head. “We were just nervous in the first set.

“That was quite a struggle … similar to yesterday [a 3-0 win against Dana Hall]. We couldn’t quite get our offense going.


Vs. Dana Hall in the Semi-final…


“The second set, we felt a little more comfortable,” added Engstrom. “We were getting our serves in… we started getting going, and we never looked back.”

However, many Spartan fans will look back at this game as the culmination of the career of — perhaps — the best volleyball player to don the red, white, and blue, Gabi Bailey ’19.

The Penn State-bound senior, whose grandfather was a member of LA’s undefeated 1955 football team, posted her 1000th high school “kill” early in the second set.


Gabi Bailey’s 1000th…

The full Twitter thread is may be found @lawrenceacademy.


“It was awesome,” said Engstrom, who held up cards signifying Bailey’s progress toward the goal to the delight of the partisan LA crowd. “I mean, she really has turned around the program.

“She was able to give us the offense that we never had before,” he continued, speaking to Bailey’s arrival two years ago. “And, what it did, was help the other girls in the team get so much better; being able to practice against the best hitter in the ISL.

“The fact that she got her thousandth kill here with in the finals was – well, it was amazing,” he said.

And the progress of the entire team was first-and-foremost on Coach Engstrom’s postgame mind.

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“We’ve had some of our seniors have been here since freshman year, and we were something like 3-16 at that point, and it was a totally different team,” he explained. “But they have put in the years, and we slowly grew in our success.

“We worked a lot during preseason and during the season in practices just to keep getting as many touches and get as much experience on the court, so we feel comfortable when it comes down to the games like this.”

Despite that experience, Engstrom also spoke about the LA community and how it embraced his team down the stretch.

“It’s so much fun to be able to see is our fan section out there and just really trying to bring it,” said Engstrom. “Our girls noticed them, for sure, and we saw it yesterday, and they talked about it after the game; how exciting it is when, when the fans get on their feet and just in our new ‘newish’ gym.

“It’s been a lot of fun.”


FWIW: LA’s Most Recent New England Titles

2018 – 19 — Volleyball

2017 – 18 — Football, Boys’ Hockey

2015 – 16 — Football

2014 – 15 — Boys’ Soccer, Football

2011 – 12 — Boys’ Hockey

2008 – 09 — Field Hockey

2002 – 03 — Girls’ Soccer

Last volleyball title?

1997 A.I.S.G.A. Volleyball Tournament  – 1st Place

#TodayAtLA: All Aces At Deerfield

The high flying LA Spartans varsity volleyball team, ranked #1 in New England with just two games to go, was well-represented by three players at yesterday’s NEPSAC All-Star festivities at Deerfield Academy in Western Massachusetts.

Most of LA’s teams are in action this week, with a full slate of contests on Wednesday and again on Saturday for Homecoming 2018.

Homecoming

Coach Engstrom Announces ISL Honors

Lawrence Academy Volleyball Head Coach Steve Engstrom announced his team’s ISL honors on Tuesday.

All-ISL
Gabi Bailey
Dasha Zhuravleva

Honorable Mention ISL
Nicole Winthrop

LA’s volleyball Spartans recently completed an outstanding campaign, stretching their season to the second round of the NEPSAC tournament with a 3-0 win versus Governor’s in the quarterfinals before falling to the eventual NEPSAC champs, Cheshire Academy.

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On to the Semis! LA Volleyball Advances…

Spartans Celebrate NEPSAC Playoff Victory


Last year, the Lawrence Academy volleyball team was thrilled just to be part of NEPSAC’s final eight.

Not so this year, explained LA volleyball Head Coach Steve Engstrom after yesterday’s 3-0 victory over The Governor’s Academy in the first round of the NEPSAC playoffs.

“We’re trying to make history here,” said Engstrom. “That’s what it’s all about.”

A Big Win Over Govs

Engstrom’s 17-3 Spartans travel to Cheshire Academy for a 2:00 PM matchup with the second-seeded 16-1 Cats. CA defeated Suffield Academy in their New England Class B Quarterfinal matchup against the seventh-ranked Tigers, 3-1 (21-25, 25-22, 25-14, 25-15) – the schools first ever Class B tournament victory.

“We had a really balanced offense,” said Engstrom of his club’s victory over Govs on Wednesday. “I was excited that our setter was able to use all of our offensive tools all the way around the court.

“We played some great defense, had a strong serving day, and made very few mistakes against a very good Governor’s team.

“It was a really, really good game today.”

Travelling to CT on Saturday

However, there’s not much time to rest on any laurels, and the Spartans look to continue their march through the NEPSAC tournament.

“We’re really excited about moving on to the next round of the postseason,” said Engstrom, an hour or so learning before learning the Spartans would play in Cheshire on Saturday. “We’re having to wait and find out where and when that’s going to be.

“But we’re very excited to have a postseason win under our belt.”

Team cohesion is crucial in the playoffs, and — right now — LA’s well-tuned game is firing on all cylinders.

“We try to have fun during practices, but we know what the end goal is,” said Engstrom. “We know what we’re playing for.”