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Crusaders top NM to remain unbeaten in Midland B play

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TOWNSEND — When Groton-Dunstable and North Middlesex go head-to-head in any sport, you can expect everything to be left on the floor from both sides.

The same held true Friday afternoon inside the Arthur Bartlett Memorial Gymnasium in Townsend, where the Crusaders defeated the Patriots in four games (25-12,25-17,22-25,25-18).

Groton-Dunstable was led by Rose O’Malley, who facilitated the Crusader offense with her game-high 23 assists.

The main storyline in the match was Jamie Debreceni, who had a service streak of eight consecutive aces to help propel Groton-Dunstable to a commanding win in game one.

“Jamie really got us going there in that first game,” Groton-Dunstable head coach Lisa LaPierre said. “Debreceni was just throwing herself all over the court today from the back row to the front — she had a great game for us.”

Head coach Mark Roy’s North Middlesex Patriots came into Friday night’s match 4-0 in Midland B play with an overall record of 5-4, and made the Crusaders work for every point in games two through four. North Middlesex was paced by senior Kristina Osborne and freshman Abby Sullivan, who each had seven kills.

“I love how Kristina hits those open spots,” Roy said. “Amy Flournoy also did a nice job getting a lot of those tough down balls. Abby also did well for us tonight. I don’t think we executed our game-plan perfectly, but it was still a highly competitive game.

North Middlesex kept spike-for-spike with the Crusaders in the early going of the second game. The Patriots tied the game at 11-11 on an ace that found the left corner of the floor from junior setter Amy Lamoreaux.

However, O’Malley and the Groton-Dunstable offense started to click on all cylinders, sparking an 8-1 run to increase its advantage to 19-12.

Later in the match, Groton-Dunstable’s Laura Bieren slammed home an ace for game-point.

North Middlesex refused to be swept by its border and Midland B foe. After exchanging points early on in the match, North Middlesex started to find some separation by building its lead to six points following an ace from senior setter Hannah Lawrence.

It was Debreceni (10 kills, 7 digs and 2 blocks) who provided the spark that the Groton-Dunstable offense needed on an emphatic spike that brought North Middlesex’s run to a halt at 13-8. The Patriots survived a little flurry from G-D late in the set to lock up the slim 25–22 victory off an error by the Crusaders.

“We are not going to take anything away from what Groton did — they were better than us tonight,” Roy said. “Debreceni had a great run, but our kids really battled back. I really cannot wait to play them again. Tonight, they were hot. We are going to go right back at them when we see them again at the end of the season.”

Follow Ed Niser on Twitter/Tout: @EdNiser

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