Take a look at this week's Top 10 rankings.
First-ranked Lawrence and second-ranked Milford are unbeaten in their last eight matches.
The Lancers (18-1) close out the regular season Monday against Chelmsford, the only team besides Billerica to take the Lancers to five sets. In their last meeting, twin brothers Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez delivered 11 kills apiece.
The Scarlet Hawks' only loss this season was to Lawrence on April 25, 3-1, and the squad ended the season strong with a 3-2 win over No. 5 Newton North.
Needham, Newton North, and Newton South all dropped a spot after losses this week.
Norwood has been on the bubble of the Top 10 and defeated Needham, 3-2, Wednesday, but fell to Newton North, 3-0. With four losses this season, the squad remains right outside the rankings.
Cambridge was bumped up to No. 3 after avenging a loss to Newton South in a clean sweep with Jalen Penrose's 28 kills.
North Quincy fell to No. 8 after falling to Taunton, 3-1.
St. John's Prep was bumped up to No. 7 after beating No. 9 Chelmsford, 3-2, with 22 kills from outside hitter Brian Keogh. Medfield stays at the bottom of the rankings with a loss to Barnstable, its second of the season.
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T.J. Hajjar, third-year coach of the Merrimack volleyball team, announced Thursday that four players had committed to the Class of 2017.
Among them is Jennifer Cain, who played four years at Melrose. The 5-foot-8-inch outside hitter was named Most Improved Player her freshman and junior years. She was also the team's Unsung Hero her sophomore year.
Cain helped anchor Melrose to a magnificent 26-1 record in her senior season, which the Red Raiders capped by winning the Division 2 state title -- the school's first in more than 40 years.
"Jen Cain comes to Merrimack with the understanding of what it takes to win," said Hajjar. "Jen has to be one of the most athletic kids I have seen in the sport. We are extremely excited to have a player who can do so many things on the court."
The other three girls headed to Merrimack are Juliette McCall (California), Jocelyn McLain (Colorado), and Tara Stuhr (California).
"I truly feel our 2012 season was a successful one as we doubled our wins from the previous year," said Hajjar. "With 10 returners and what looks to be one of the strongest recruiting classes the program has ever seen, I believe 2013 will be a great year for Merrimack to make some noise in the NE-10."
Some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene:
1. Haverhill clinches tournament spot -- Before falling to Lawrence Monday, Haverhill (7-4 Merrimack Valley, 9-5 overall) won six straight matches to qualify for the postseason. The Hillies boast a 40-3 record the past two seasons, though they fell to state champion Cambridge in the Division 1 North semifinals last year to end the season at 19-1.
2. Bay State brings heated matchups -- Next week, the Bay State Conference features some of the best matchups. Needham has a target on its back as the only undefeated team in the conference at 12-0, and it goes on the road for games against Norwood Monday at 4 p.m. and Newton North Wednesday at 4 p.m.
3. St. John's Prep stuns Medfield -- St. John's Prep put an end to Medfield's 10-game win streak with a straight-set victory Monday on its home court, 25-18, 25-10, 25-13. Brian Keogh (18 kills) and Sean Brennan (32 assists) led the way.The win avenged a 3-2 loss to Medfield May 1. The two squads square off once more, in the final match of the regular season Tuesday, May 21, at St. John's Prep.
4. Newton South, best in the state? -- After taking down state champion Cambridge Tuesday, Lions senior Zack Halpryn said his squad was the best in the state. Easily sporting the best record in the Dual County League (10-1, 15-1 overall), the Lions are serious contenders come tournament time. But we'll see how they measure up in a rematch at Cambridge Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Lions are having their best season since 2009-10 when they went 19-1 before falling to Chicopee Comp in the state semifinals.
5. Your turn to vote! -- Vote on which Top 10 squad you think has the best chance of winning on the state title stage. The results will be featured in next week's notebook, so don't forget to vote!
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Check out this week's boys' volleyball Top 10 rankings.
Cambridge’s 22-game win streak, dating to last season, ended this week in back-to-back losses to St. John’s Prep and Acton-Boxboro. The No. 3 Falcons fell to No. 7 St. John’s Prep, 22-25, 15-25, 25-22, 24-26. The Falcons then lost at home against A-B in straight sets. The Falcons regrouped Friday by squeezing by Arlington, 3-2.
Top-ranked Lawrence breezed by Millis and Andover in straight sets and the Lancers' highlight of the week was their stellar performance against previously undefeated No. 8 Chelmsford. The matchup went to five sets, with senior twins Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez combining for 22 kills.
No. 2 Milford regained its footing after a 3-1 upset to Lawrence April 25, taking Catholic Memorial, Chicopee, and Taunton, each in three sets.
No. 10 Newton South got its revenge over Westford Academy, the only squad to beat the Lions this season. Newton South won, 3-1.
No. 4 Needham, No. 5 Newton North, and No. 6 North Quincy stayed afloat, all with wins this week.
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Some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene.
1. "Oh how the mighty have fallen" -- Host St. John's Prep thumped defending state champion Cambridge in a 3-1 upset Monday (25-22, 25-1, 22-25, 26-24). Seniors Eric O'Connor and Brian Keogh drove the offense with a combined 31 kills to end Cambridge's 22-game unbeaten streak from last season.
2. Chelmsford run ends short -- Lawrence ended Chelmsford's chances of an undefeated season after rallying from a two-game deficit to win 27-29, 20-25, 25-21, 25-18, 15-13. The twin duo Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez performed up to par as usual, notching 11 kills apiece. Christian Mayi and Christian Tavares split seven blocks each. The Lancers earned first place in the Merrimack Valley Conference.
3. St. John's Prep to be tested -- Despite the ultimate feat of taking down the defending state champion Cambridge, the Eagles have struggled to stay afloat this season. The Eagles squad fell to Western Alliance rival Medfield that sits atop the conference, undefeated at 8-0. The Eagles get a second chance at that foe Monday on their home court and the day after, travel to Milford, a squad that beat the, 3-2 earlier this season.
4. Newton South avenges loss to Westford -- The Lions (12-1) took on Westford 25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17 with a team-combined 31 kills. Zack Halpryn led the match with 10 kills to avenge a 3-2 loss to Westford April 8, the squad's only loss this season. The Lions have won nine straight.
5. Watch out for Haverhill --Despite an early season slump, Haverhill is picking up the pace, earning its sixth straight win with wins over Billerica, Andover and Lowell this week. We'll see if the Hillies can continue this run with four games left, the most challenging against Lawrence Monday.
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Check out this week's Top 10 rankings.
Defending state champion Cambridge continues to turn heads this season as the squad registers a 10-game win streak, recently avenging losses from last season to Westford, Newton South and Lincoln-Sudbury.
No. 3 Milford, a squad that looked to be the No. 1 Falcons' greatest threat, saw an end to its eight-game win streak Thursday after falling to second-ranked Lawrence 3-1. Credit goes to twin brothers Anibal and Jeyson Henriquez, who combined for 26 kills. The victory avenged a 3-1 loss to Milford on April 8.
Fourth-ranked Needham surprised Newton North Monday, 3-1, with Sam Tillotson's 20 kills, bumping the squad down to No. 6. The Rockets are undefeated in the Bay State Conference at 8-0, with their only two non-league losses to Lawrence.
Newton North also lost to Norwood in five sets Friday, the last set going to 31-29.
Natick had a tough week after falling to Framingham, 3-2, and Needham, 3-1, bumping the squad out of the top 10.
After a climactic 3-2 loss to No. 5 Chelmsford April 19, St. John's Prep first and only loss this season, the No. 8 Eagles have stayed consistent, even taking two sets from Milford Monday.
No. 7 North Quincy remains perfect on a nine-game win streak with league wins over Barnstable, 3-0, and Greater New Bedford, 3-1, this week.
No. 9 Newton South remains the second-best squad in the Dual County League, behind Cambridge, at 5-1 in the league, 10-1 overall. The squad swept Lincoln-Sudbury and Lexington and ended the week with a win over Wayland, 3-1.
Xaverian, 3-3 in the league, 5-4 overall, drops out of the Top 10 after losing to unbeaten Western Alliance foe No. 10 Medfield, 7-0.
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Some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene.
1. Brockton battles for bronze -- The Boxers stole the Bronze Bracket in the Rhody Invitational at Bryant University Saturday, winning sets (25-18, 25-17) over Bishop Hendricken. The Boxers defeated Lincoln-Sudbury in the quarterfinals, 25-18. This is one of many accomplishments for the squad. Boxers coach Jack Olson earned his 300th win with the boys' program April 5 in a 3-0 win over Quincy (25-16, 25-15, 25-14).
Milford fell in the semifinal round of the Rhody Invitational's Gold Bracket to St. Joseph (Metuchen), 25-16, 25-15. St. Joseph (N.J.) won the gold for its fourth Rhody Invitational championship.
Twelve teams from Massachusetts competed: Brockton, Cambridge, Central Catholic, Chicopee Comp, Greater New Bedford Voc. Tech, Haverhill, Lincoln-Sudbury, Ludlow, Milford, New Bedford, Newton North, and Newton South.
2. St. John's Prep struggles to stay in it -- After a strong five-game win streak, the Eagles were battle-tested, losing in a tie-breaker, 17-15, to unbeaten Chelmsford last Friday. On Monday, the Eagles had no luck against one of the state's best, Milford, despite making it to five sets (23-25, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 15-5). The Eagles have home-court advantage in their next big matchup, Monday at 7 p.m. against returning state champion Cambridge.
3. Needham knocks out Newton North -- The Rockets rallied behind Sam Tillotson's 20 kills after dropping the first set to hand Newton North its first loss of the season, 3-1, Monday. This is a big momentum-builder for the program, which was 0-2 against Newton North last season. The Rockets lead the Bay State Conference at 7-0.
4. For Acton-Boxboro, consistency is key -- Despite two early slipups early in the season to Dual County League's Westford and Cambridge, the Colonials have earned six straight wins, including three league matchups. The Colonials now set their sights on a rematch with host Westford Friday at 4 p.m. Westford is on a two-game losing skid.
5. Brighton thumps West Roxbury -- The Bengals' strength is clearly senior Joshua Hopkins at the service line. The outside hitter delivered 35 service points in a pair of wins against Madison Park and West Roxbury. Keep an eye on him as the squad squares off against a series of Boston City League rivals this week.
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This is a big transition year for most of the usual suspects after graduating a large chunk of talent, so expect some surprises and rising talent as we make a dent in the season.
To date, here are some interesting tidbits on the high school boys' volleyball scene:
1. Penrose sets sights on Penn State -- Cambridge senior captain and one of the program's best has been offered a full ride to Penn State's Division 1 program. Penrose was the catalyst in last season's state championship run, leading the state in kills (499). Penrose, who leads the state with 126 kills this season, is the biggest individual threat squad's are keeping an eye on. His fellow setter and co-captain, Rodolfo Bonates, has committed to Sacred Heart and has been the glue that has sealed a five-game unbeaten streak to start the season. This duo is the favorite to watch this season and expect banners with their names at Cambridge as both steer to set program records.
3. North Quincy plays to win -- It's no surprise the Red Raiders are off to a great start with five straight wins, already setting the bar in the Quincy/North Quincy rivalry. The team took their season opener, 3-1, after senior captain Mike Pran and junior middle hitter Efthim Butka executed a combined 24 kills. I would expect them to clear a straight path to the tournament.
3. Milford manages early streak -- The Hawks, who were denied a state championship title last season in the final stage, are "the" squad to beat. The team is undefeated at 9-0 and has a tier of upperclassmen -- Michael Soares (61 kills), Kane Wittorff (87 kills) and Michael Antonellis (58 kills) -- that will provide a big threat against unbeaten Westford (Friday) and St. John's Prep Apr. 22).
4. St. John's prep, a contender -- St. John's Prep coach Scott Celli has had a taste of victory with his Melrose girls' program winning their first Division 2 state championship, and it's time to bring that luck to the boys' side. The 2011 Massachusetts Girls’ Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Inductee is off to a strong start with a six-game streak. As anticipated, senior Brian Keogh is setting the bar with 90 kills, a season-high 22 in the season opener. Senior Sean Brennan averages 8.7 sets per game.
5. Lawrence is loaded -- Despite a season opener 3-1 loss to Milford, Lawrence is the strongest squad in the Merrimack Valley Conference returning this season after a 17-4 run to the North quarterfinals. The Lancers have four returning starters Anibal Henriquez, Christian Mayi, and MVC All-Stars Reibin Hiraldo and Jeyson Henriquez under 16-year head coach Tony Hajjar, who sports a 236-92 record. The Lancers will get to showcase their talent and experience in their first MVC matchup against Haverhill Friday.
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Returning state champion Cambridge is one of the few boys’ volleyball squads to remain intact with their most potent offensive player, Jalen Penrose, an unquestionable threat on the state’s best team.
Falcons coach Kelley Leary has anticipated the increased attention for Penrose, her son – especially after he hit .465 in his last game – and is focused on using him in a “supporting role.”
“Part of it is helping to develop other players and let them lead a bit and push them to step up,” Leary said.
Despite Penrose’s all-around consistency – serving, passing, blocking, and hitting, which he holds the season record for under coach Leary (499 kills) – “he can’t be the whole thing by himself,” she said.
Now in his senior year, Penrose has a chance to repeat as a state champion. Cambridge played Milford to five sets, winning in the state final 3-2, where he accounted for 40 of the squad’s 81 kills. The title was the Falcons’ first since 2003 and first under head coach Leary after ending Milford’s win streak at 42 matches.
The 6-foot-7 Penrose, who was the DCL player of the year, led the state with 499 kills last season and a .400 hitting percentage. He will need to fill big gaps this season without Kevin Lovaincy (St. Anselm) and Robbie Buderi (McGill University), who were undoubtedly last year’s catalysts.
Another asset for the squad is returning setter Rodolfo Bonates. The senior entered the season with 1,700 assists, according to Leary, making a sure bid for the 2000 mark this season. Bonates already has one 38-assist outing in this young season. Penrose is 30 kills away from reaching the 1000-point club and both athletes, who are being pursued by Division 1 collegiate programs.
“Good things are happening and I’m curious to see how it plays out,” Leary said.
However, the potential Leary sees in practice hasn’t been translated onto the court for games, despite the Falcons starting a perfect season with a straight set win over Central Catholic and a 3-1 win over Boston Latin. The Falcons scrimmaged with Lincoln-Sudbury, a squad that is starting fresh after graduating all 14 players, including their best, William Shimkus (Wentworth).
State semifinalist Newton North returns without two powerhouse players, Globe Player of the Year Luke Westman (Colby) and Michael Thorpe (Emerson), but is “stronger than anticipated based on the number of players who played throughout last season,” said coach Richard Barton. “Our team is solid despite losing premier players.”
Barton has the full intention of competing at the state’s highest level with his squad’s strongest performance in blocking, passing, serving, and serve. Expect three-year varsity players Randy Tow (setter), Andrew Leaper (opposite), Corey Mui (outside) to have a big role. Barton is also excited about newcomer and varsity basketball player Sheamus Bruno in middle.
Like Cambridge, Barton’s biggest concern is a “loaded” Milford team. When asked about Cambridge, Barton said, “they are not going to think much of us, but they’ll be surprised.”
“They have one of the state’s [top] attackers and he can be really damaging, but we have more payers who can do things and they have one singular and that’s what it’ll be a battle,” he said. The Tigers are also off to a perfect start with wins over Framingham and Braintree.
Newton South coach Todd Elwell agrees that Milford and Lawrence are top contenders in the state, as he has yet to find a hole in Lawrence’s game.
The Lions have graduated five of six starters, but Elwell said the squad reloads every year and he is confident to make a run at sectionals.
“I feel pretty good at where we’re standing,” he said. And although his eyes are on Cambridge, he said “It’s hard to win volleyball with one good player.”
“It’s a weird year [with major losses to graduation],” Elwell said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if one or two come out of woodworks.”
Newton South is solid in middle with senior captain Paul Vasiloff leading the pack. Elwell is pleasantly surprised and says his squad is ahead of course with Ben Snyder. The Lions have gone six straight sets to go 2-0 to start the season, with a better attack efficiency than last season.
Elwell’s goal is to use that efficiency to shake up Cambridge’s Penrose in a matchup.
“He can jump higher than anyone in the state and we’re going to have to slow him down a little bit,” Elwell said. His Lions stand at least 6-2 up front and with good efficiency on digging and serving, Elwell is confident his team will be back in the tournament for the program’s fifth year.
Andover has a chance to make a name for itself. Despite losing Joseph Kuykendall (James Madison), the squad looks to first-year coach E.J. Perry. Perry sports a 112-0 record with Salem (N.H.), claiming the state’s first six titles.
Expect the usual suspects – St. John’s Prep, Natick, Xaverian and North Quincy to fight for postseason spots.
The Barnstable Red Raiders ratcheted up the intensity this season with several come-from-behind victories in the state tournament, one against Lincoln-Sudbury in a five-set rally with a last minute scoring surge to move on to the state final against Newton North.
Odds were in the Tigers' favor after having delivered an earlier loss to the Red Raiders, their first in two seasons. After a dominating presence by the Tigers' Keane Brazda, it looked like coach Richard Barton had the match in the bag. But Tom Turco's seniors rose to the occasion and with his Kayla Crook-Regan Bristol combo, the program clinched its 15th state championship. It also clinched Barnstable No. 1 ranking in the final girls' volleyball Top 20. Crook was the first Red Raider to eclipse the 1,500 assist mark, ending the season with over 2,000.
Newton North came in second in the poll.
With just a single blemish on its record, Melrose brushed past Longmeadow to clinch the Division 2 crown behind showstoppers Brooke Bell and Sarah McGowan, who snapped program records in doing so while falling in the top tier of the state statistically. Melrose finished the year No. 4 in the poll.
Frontier's Cassidy Stankowski helped her team beat Lynnfield in straight sets for the Division 3 crown. Lynnfield ends the year at No. 6.
Make sure to check out the final girls' volleyball poll to where each school is ranked.
Barnstable took a big hit this week after falling to Newton North, 3-2, the Red Raiders first loss since 2010. Read here for the game recap.
The defending champ remains a threat in Division 1, but this will be the first week the Red Raiders will not occupy the top spot. The Red Raiders drop to No. 3 behind second-ranked Newton North and filling the void at the top of the Globe's Top 20 is Lincoln-Sudbury. The Warriors remain unbeaten this season at 15-0 after a pair of league wins this week and a straight-set win over Newton North earlier this season. The Warriors have a rematch with Newton North in their last regular season game at the Newton North gymnasium, Wednesday. Definitely one to watch.
Melrose grabs the fourth spot with three straight-set wins this past week. The Red Raiders snapped the program's record for most wins in a season at 21-0 as the powerhouse looks to close in on a perfect season with their final game one of the most anticipated yet. Newton North will play at the Melrose gymnasium, Tuesday, which will set the tone for the tournament.
No. 5 Andover remains undefeated after a three-game sweep, despite a close five-set matchup with No. 18 Central Catholic.
Canton, Medfield and Wellesley each shared a successful week to stay in the top ten. No. 10 Brookline dropped the ball after back-to-back losses against Newton North and Weymouth.
Notre Dame of Hingham was victorious over No. 8 Medfield, 3-1, moving up four spots.
Lynnfield dropped three sets to No. 16 Bishop Fenwick, falling out of the rankings.
Newton North accomplished a feat no other girls' volleyball team could this season, snapping Barnstable's 41-match winning streak with a five-set victory (26-24, 25-22, 12-25, 21-25, 15-11) at the Red Raiders' gym Wednesday.
"Some coaches get good results. But [Barnstable coach Tom Turco] gets good results because he's organized, he's professional, he has high expectations and he unifies his team toward one goal," said Tigers coach Richard Barton.
The Red Raiders (13-1) have 14 state championships and last lost in 2010, a 3-1 defeat to Medfield. Prior to Wednesday's matchup, Barnstable had lost three sets all season.
"It works and pays dividends and once in a while someone knocks them off," said Barton.
And it was anything but easy.
"We knew they were dangerous and the hurdle playing against Barnstable is not faltering and just keeping the pedal to the metal the entire time," said Barton.
The 2-and-a-half hour match came down to a deflection placing the ball on the Tigers side of the court, 10 feet away from any player. Tigers senior setter Keane Brazda dove to pop the ball up three feet from the net setting up junior outside hitter Infiniti Thomas (six block-kills), who slugged the ball after a weird approach, resulting in a Barnstable attack error. For game point, a Barnstable pass skimmed the net and fell back on the Red Raiders' side for an error to end the set, 15-11.
"Barnstable just passes everything so well and it was a strange play. They're true players and it could have easily gone their way," said Barton.
The Tigers (15-1) have not had a scheduled matchup against Barnstable for the past few seasons but Barton chose this pairing to eliminate any postseason surprises.
"It’s a tremendous confidence boost. My philosophy is it's better to play top teams and know more about them to build more confidence. If you're used to them, the players feel more confident. Unfortunately, Turco will also feel the same way because now he can better prepare for us," Barton said.
The Tigers' confidence soared after winning the first two sets. But the Tigers were not able to keep more than a four or five-point lead throughout the game. The high-level competition produced 41 kills for the Tigers. Barnstable was led by Regan Bristol (19 kills), Colleen Koen (10 kills) and Kayla Crook's 32 assists.
"A kill was very difficult to get in the game because [Barnstable] touches every play and the rallies were very long," said Barton.
With the top six teams holding on to their spots from last week, the bulk of the volleyball Top 20 rankings are slight changes after an overall successful week for many teams.
Medfield (13-3) was bumped up to the No. 7 spot after fifth-ranked Newton North (13-1) stunned No. 8 Wellesley (13-2) and No. 9 Brookline (10-4) in straight sets. No. 15 Bishop Fenwick (13-4) dropped two spots after falling to third-ranked Andover (16-0), which remains undefeated.
The biggest surprise of the week came from on-the-rise No. 13 Pembroke after a straight-set victory over North Quincy, which sent the Red Raiders (14-4) to the bottom of the rankings at No. 18. The Titans (15-2) have had a strong 10-game run since their earlier 3-1 loss to North Quincy.
No. 17 Notre Dame of Hingham (10-4) slipped down one spot after a loss to top-ranked Barnstable (12-0), despite handing the Red Raiders their first set loss this season.
Andover had some tough matchups this week against Reading and North Andover. And with victories in both, the undefeated Golden Warriors (13-0) move up to the third spot in the Globe Top 20 volleyball rankings past Lincoln-Sudbury.
The Golden Warriors edged out Reading, 3-1, which shuffled the Rockets (11-3) down three spots. The matchup against North Andover, which was highlighted in the previous Games of the Week, went to five sets (25-16, 27-29, 25-15, 16-25, 15-10). Molly Cronin had a hand in the loss, combining for 28 kills in the season series, while Elizabeth Wait posted six kills and six blocks. North Andover (10-3) falls to No. 10.
Top-ranked Barnstable (10-0) stays perfect this season after serving North Attleboro a 3-0 loss, moving the Red Rocketeers (9-3) down two spots to No. 18. Melrose (15-0) stays at No. 2 with three Middlesex Large wins in straight sets. The lineup stays the same with Newton North and Canton (13-0) falling in the fifth and sixth spots, with Tigers (11-1) heading the Bay State League.
Canton almost saw a perfect 13-game streak come to an end after a tight five-set rally against No. 17 Notre Dame of Hingham (9-3), who has been a team to watch. The Bulldogs came through with the win (26-24, 22-25, 26-24, 12-25, 15-10) despite Julia Flynn's 29 kills and Randi Whitham's 57 assists.
No. 7 Brookline (10-2) and No. 8 Wellesley (12-1) saw some close calls as both teams struggled in five-set matchups against some tough Bay State League competition.
No. 9 Medfield (11-3) saw three straight wins and another highlight of the week was No. 11 Arlington Catholic's loss to unranked Bishop Fenwick. The loss drops the Cougars (14-2) four spots and Bishop Fenwick emerges at No. 13. The Crusaders (11-3) avenged an earlier 3-2 loss this season and have wins against Lynnfield and Central Catholic under their belt.
No. 14 Pembroke is another new team in the Top 20 after its 3-1 victory over Quincy, handing the Titans (12-2) the season sweep and dropping Quincy four spots to No. 19.
No. 16 North Quincy (12-3) hit a slippery slope with Duxbury and Fontbonne, going five sets in both matchups, so keep an eye on how they compete as we near the end of the regular season.
Lynnfield holds on to the final spot in the rankings after Central Catholic and Chelmsford both suffered losses this week.
High school football, soccer, volleyball and field hockey teams in Massachusetts are helping raise awareness for breast cancer with more than 30 "Pink" games slated around the state as a part of "Coaches vs. Cancer" charitable drive.
October is breast cancer awareness month and the telltale signs of high school teams acknowledging, as well as fund-raising, for the cause is represented in the flair. Players have been sporting pink cleats, gloves, and streaking patches during this month's games.
It's the second year New England teams have participated in the program, which is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and has partnerships with the NFL and NBA. The region raised $400,000 toward breast cancer research and treatment last year with Massachusetts accounting for more than $100,000 of that total, according to the program's regional coordinator Janice Portlock.
"They made us a priority this year," Portlock said. "This time last year, you had six [pink] games here. Now it's up to 35."
The New England Patriots kicked off pink October with their "Crucial Catch" game last week.
For more information on the American Cancer Society, visit cancer.org. For more information on "Coaches vs. Cancer" in Massachusetts, contact Janice Portlock at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lincoln-Sudbury took the biggest leap this week, putting itself at No. 3 after three consecutive Dual County League victories over Boston Latin, Westford, and Acton-Boxboro.
The Colonials dropped out of the rankings with the loss.
The top tier remains untouchable with Barnstable, Melrose, Lincoln-Sudbury and Andover sporting undefeated records in Division 1. Wellesley's loss to Brookline shook up the rest of the lineup with the Warriors sitting at No. 10 behind Newton North, Canton and Arlington Catholic, who all remain strong contenders.
No. 16 North Attleboro and No. 17 Notre Dame of Hingham are safe as Central Catholic and Chelmsford inch into the rankings.
The mix-up this week is due to a postseason outlook of the state's top powerhouses as state tournament hopefuls clinch potential spots.
Check out the latest Globe Top 20 here.
Two words describe the Barnstable girls’ volleyball season: nearly perfect. The Red Raiders (7-0) have a 28-game win streak going back to last year’s state title season, allowing only one set loss this season. So, they’re back at No. 1.
Melrose and Newton North fill the next two spots with the Red Raiders (9-0) having edged out two ranked teams (Reading and Arlington Catholic). The Tigers (8-0) are on the ballot with a win over Brookline.
Arlington Catholic's only loss this season has been to Melrose, adding it to the mix. Big playmakers to watch this season are Reading, Lynnfield, rivals North Quincyand Quincy and Notre Dame of Hingham.
Notre Dame (H) is making this week's list because of the Cougars stellar performances against three top teams: Medfield, Barnstable, and Case. Not only did the Cougars knock out the Division 3 state finalist Cardinals, but the team snatched two sets from Medfield and served Barnstable its only set loss of the season, something to be said of the emerging competitor.
It was a "night of setters" that brought four-year Marshfield volleyball coach Al Mirabile his 100th career win with a trio in the limelight.
Senior captain Marissa Lasalle had 15 assists, showcasing her "mobility while plugging new kids into the mix," said Mirabile, handing the Rams a 3-0 win over Nauset in an Atlantic Coast League season opener (25-15, 25-15, 25-15).
Seeing their first varsity action were sophomore Lily Clancy and freshman Maddie Keating, who combined for four assists. The victory is a promising sign with Mirabile believing his squad will be one of his strongest contenders yet.
"We're a team that usually goes 1-11 but everyone chipped in and they functioned well tonight," he said.
Middle hitter Lindsey Armstrong steered the offense with 13 service points and six aces and defensive specialist Kristin Predella followed close behind with 12 service points.
The combination of Mirabile's experience coaching Archbishop Williams and Braintree and his girls' grit and attack efficiency are means for an upgrade this season as the Rams look to improve an 8-10 record from their 2011-2012 season.
Latin Academy’s volleyball team will receive the 2012 MIAA Boys Volleyball Sportsmanship Award on Wednesday during a ceremony before the state championship match at Babson College.
“We were nominated the last couple years, it was good for the kids,” Latin Academy coach Phuong Cao said. “The referees over the years, they just watched the kids and they nominated us.”
The Dragons (16-5) lost in the quarterfinals of the Division 1 North state tournament bracket to Cambridge Rindge & Latin, which will play for the state championship against Milford at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Cao said it’s nice to know the team they bowed out to made it to the final.
“They are good, they are good all around,” he said. “We played them three times this year and they are excellent.”
Latin Academy earned the No. 5 seed in the North and will host 12th-seeded Greater Lowell Thursday at 6 p.m. when the MIAA volleyball tournament opens play. Tournament pairings were announced Tuesday.
The Dragons finished the season 15-4 and were seeded behind No. 1 Haverhill (18-0), No. 2 Lawrence (17-3), No. 3 St. John's Prep (17-3) and No. 4 Cambridge (16-3).
Greater Lowell, from the Commonwealth Conference, finished the spring 10-10. Should LA advance to the quarterfinals it would play the winner of the Cambridge vs. Lowell Catholic first round match next Tuesday.
Haverhill has really proven itself to be the best boys' volleyball team in Eastern Mass. with a perfect 17-game streak, losing one set the entire season. The Hillies will be the team to beat as they look for a second chance at a state title after falling 3-2 to Lincoln-Sudbury last season. Tournament pairings come out Tuesday.
Drew Caruso, Kevin Hirschfeld and James Murray are a trio to look out for, all ranking among the top hitting leaders in the state.
It's no surprise that No. 2 Newton North and No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury fall close behind. The Tigers (16-1) handed Needham a loss last week to keep the Bay State Conference power in the rankings at No. 2 and with high hopes intering tournament play.
The Warriors (16-1) were bumped down a spot to squeeze in third-ranked North Quincy (16-0), another undefeated team, which was a first for the school's program.
The tournament will be a big test for North Quincy, who has not seen the level of competition like other Top 10 teams.
Lincoln-Sudbury returns to familiar territory and will need to put forth big numbers from the team's outside hitters to defend their state title.
Although St. John's Prep falls in fifth, the Eagles had one of the most impressive weeks after avenging earlier season losses to Xaverian and BC High. Their progress in the tournament will certainly reflect the new coaching under Scott Celli.
No. 6 Lawrence has the potential to pick up some momentum after a 13-3 season, but they could shift either way.
Despite a few strikes in the loss column, seventh-ranked Cambridge (15-3) is a threat to watch out for.
Jalen Penrose is a big playmaker, totaling 315 kills this season and behind him are Robbie Buderi (158 kills) and Kevin Lovaincy (175 kills) to lead the squad. Cambridge has taken down Lincoln-Sudbury, Newton South, and St. John's Prep in the regular season, meaning the Falcons know how to compete.
Needham and Xaverian dropped in the rankings after losses this week. Both teams emerged as resilient contenders in the beginning of the season, but have had their share of few bumpy losses.
Newton South sits at the bottom of the rankings at 14-6 with a few wins against ranked teams such as Cambridge.
St. John's Prep and No. 6 Needham (15-1) handed Xaverian losses this week to drop the Hawks to the eighth spot, opening the door for several teams to fill in the rankings below top-ranked Haverhill (14-0).
No. 2 Newton North (11-2), No. 3 Lincoln Sudbury (13-1) and No. 4 North Quincy (15-0) each had a perfect week, sliding them into the top spots.
No. 9 Lawrence (13-3) dropped three spots after falling to Methuen, an unexpected hiccup.
No. 5 St. John's Prep (15-3) saw one of the biggest moves up the rankings after taking out BC High, avenging the Eagles' 3-2 loss on April 5. Along with beating previously second-ranked Xaverian, the Eagles earned the upgrade.
Tenth-ranked Cambridge (12-3) was safe this week, keeping the Falcons in the mix.
Barnstable senior Kaylee Deluga has committed to play volleyball at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H.
A two-time Boston Globe All-Scholastic, Deluga was selected as the Division 1 Player of the Year after leading the Red Raiders to their second consecutive state championship in the Fall.
The three-time Old Colony League All-Star racked up 601 kills, 121 aces and 62 blocks over the last two seasons.
She plans on majoring in Elementary Education at St. Anselm.
Previously undefeated Cambridge (9-3) had a rough week with three consecutive losses to Lincoln-Sudbury, Newton South, and Westford, dropping the Falcons to the bottom of the rankings.
No. 7 Newton South (10-4) was the first to put a dent in the Falcons unbeaten streak, 3-0, earning it the seventh spot after a week at No.10.
No. 1 Haverhill (11-0) remains undefeated after taking out Lawrence (12-2), to push the north sectional finalist to No. 6. Haverhill has lost only one set this season, and is steering a nine-game perfect streak.
Second-ranked Xaverian (13-1) and third-ranked Newton North (10-1) each had a perfect week, going undefeated in nine sets this week to lead the tier. No. 4 Lincoln-Sudbury (10-1) beat Newton South and Cambridge.
Entering with a nine-game unbeaten streak, third-ranked Cambridge hit a roadblock Monday night when Peter Haskin and No. 10 Newton South delivered a 3-0 upset, winning, 27-25, 25-19, 25-13.
“They went into someone’s house and played them well. We’re on pace and where we need to be,” said Lions coach Todd Elwell. “We’re going to be dangerous. It’s not a secret.”
Haskin led the way for the Lions, finishing with six kills and seven service aces.
“One thing I appreciate is that they pass at a high level, giving us more opportunity to attack,” said Newton South coach Todd Elwell.
“Peter was serving pinpoint and picking on the right people. We’re hitting seams much better this year,” he said.
First-year starter Paul Vasiloff hit seven-out-of 11 kill attempts in the middle, which gave the Lions some versatility at net that put pressure on Cambridge’s passing.
“It’s not a power issue. This team likes to swing and go big,'' said Elwell. "The issues are when you need to be gentle. When they learn to be powerful but gentle, the combination gets deadly. A couple more pieces came into play, and we finally trusted our middles with some balls.”
The switch of Jordan Lee (10 assists) to the middle has upped the Lions' level of play, which they hope will act as an advantage as they head into the second half of their season.
“In the beginning of season, everyone knew where we were going, but now we set middle as much as outside,” he said.
Needham (8-2) was the only ranked team to stumble this week after falling to No. 6 Newton North, 3-0, with junior captain Sam Tillotson's 16 kills. Needham drops to No. 8 in this week's volleyball rankings.
In the top spot is returning state finalist Haverhill (8-0), which remains undefeated and a promising candidate for postseason action. No. 2 Xaverian continues the lineup at 10-1 with No. 3 Cambridge (9-0) and No. 4 Lawrence (10-1) hungry for a boost in the rankings.
Otherwise, most top-ranked teams passed the test in league matches this week for two to three-game stretches edging out previously ninth-ranked Newton South (8-3).
Outside hitters Jalen Penrose and Robbie Buderi closed out the clinching game with a pair of kills to help lift the fourth-ranked Cambridge boys' volleyball team over host Arlington, 3-0, Monday, pushing the Falcons' winning streak to seven straight games.
Senior right side hitter Kevin Lovaincy had a perfect kill percentage as Cambridge won, 25-16, 25-11, 25-16. Penrose and Buderi had 12 kills each and combined for 22 service points.
“I would place us with the top five in the state,'' said Falcons coach Kelley Leary.
Cambridge setter Rodolfo Bonates had 33 assists against Arlington and made key adjustments in the Falcons’ 3-2 victories over No. 8 Lincoln Sudbury and No. 10 St. John’s Prep earlier this season.
“They were down with Lincoln-Sudbury and it was a game they had to fight in to come back,'' Leary said. "They were a little edgy with St. John’s Prep … it was a close one where they needed to step up in the fifth [set].”
Leary said his team's biggests tests will come in a rematch with Lincoln-Sudbury and a match against No. 9 Newton South.
“I would like to see [my team] come out with more intensity,” she said.
Despite missing junior Aser Abrha in middle because of an ankle sprain, the Falcons have made adjustments with 6-foot-8-inch Gary Edwards up front.
Top-ranked Xaverian plants itself atop the Globe boys' volleyball rankings after taking a bite out of the Western Alliance to earn a four-game undefeated streak. The Hawks let up a single set this season and should steamroll through its schedule, though a possible speed bump is conference rival No. 9 St. John's Prep.
The three-time state champion Eagles (4-1) are going to have to redefine themselves this year after their earliest postseason exit in several years, a North Sectional quarterfinal loss to Andover. The Eagles were upset by BC High, 3-2, April 5, which will need to be a one-time mishap in order for the Eagles to see another postseason. Junior outside hitter Brian Keogh will be a player to watch with 46 kills totaled in the first three matches of the season and a game-high 23 kills in a 3-1 win against Chelmsford.
No. 2 Lincoln Sudbury returns as state champion and a usual threat come tournament time. The Warriors are 3-0 despite a close 3-2 win over fifth-ranked Newton North, when John Newton's nine kills and Bill Shimkus' four aces and 17 service points proved the difference.
No. 3 Lawrence is a usual contender. Senior middle blocker Joel Rodriguez will be a potential threat for the Lancers, dropping 32 kills in the first three matches, including in the 3-1 season-opening win against No. 8 Newton South.
The Newton rivals return with Newton North posting two-set wins against Lincoln-Sudbury and Newton South hanging in there with a 4-1 record (it's only loss being to Lawrence). No. 4 North Quincy passed the test with two big wins, 3-1 over Quincy and 3-0 over Barnstable.
No. 6 Needham and No. 7 Cambridge will be teams to watch as No. 10 Haverhill, last year’s state title runner-up, settle at the bottom of the Top 10 with only a single game played this season.
See the Globe boys volleyball rankings.
Frontier's Cassidy Stankowski, a NEPSAC all-star this fall, was named the 2011-12 Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball player of the year.
The junior, standing 5-foot-8, led the Red Hawks to a 23-1 record and the Division 3 state title, recording 276 kills, 143 digs, 76 aces and 20 blocks as an outside hitter.
Last year, New Bedford's Maura Manley pulled down the award
All eyes were on Division 1 this year as Barnstable won state championship No. 14 behind Division 1 Player of the Year Kaylee Deluga, capping a perfect season as the Globe's No. 1 team.
Central Catholic, the No. 4 team, shook things up in the tournament, edging powerhouse Lincoln-Sudbury (No. 10) 3-2 in the state semifinal behind the superb setting of All-Scholastic Alexis Michal.
No. 5 Brookline went on a tear with duo Maya Midzik, a Yale commit, and stellar setter Jamie Francona, daughter or former Red Sox manager Terry Francona. They helped take No. 14 North Quincy out of the running in the Central-East Division 1 semifinals.
Marlboro (No. 3) and Frontier (No. 2) topped Divisions 2 and 3, axing out repeat competitors Melrose and Case.
In addition to Barnstable's Deluga, Case's Megan Armburg and Fairhaven's Kara Charette were also named Globe Players of the Year.
Although there was not an appearance in the final stage, notable teams Reading and Lynnfield made their mark on the season. No. 11 Reading compiled a 14-game win streak and No. 17 Lynnfield (20-1) finished just shy of a perfect season, losing to Frontier in the Division 3 state semifinals.
The Boston Globe Fall All-Scholastics are out, available for view on Boston.com. More than 200 high school athletes from nine different sports have been selected as All-Scholastics, marking the end of the fall season.
On this season's cover is Concord-Carlisle brother-sister duo Mike and Andrea O'Brien, who are both All-American soccer players for the school. They highlight the level of talent of the many individuals selected this season.
Bishop Feehan girl’s volleyball blanked host Dennis-Yarmouth, 3-0, clinching a Division 2 South Finals appearance.
Bishop Feehan’s relentless service attack left the Dolphins searching for answers throughout the match.
After battling their way to a 10-10 tie in the first game, Bishop Feehan strung together a quality service run to go up 15-10.
After trading points, senior outside hitter Lexi Sells recorded the game winning kill to put the Shamrocks up 25-19.
“Lexi is our best hitter in the front row," said head coach Joe Reardon. "[Her ability to make plays] makes the difference for us. She is an athlete and she is hard to stop and we were definitely looking to get her the ball more often.”
Game two opened up in a similar fashion as both teams went back and forth, trading points.The game opened up for the Shamrocks after senior libero Mary-Katherine Rooney stepped under an errant pass and drilled the ball to the opposing court, putting the Shamrocks up 23-22. The Dolphins committed errors on a series of volleys and the Shamrocks escaped with a, 25-23, game two win.
Reardon called a timeout early in the third game after the Dolphins scored five unanswered points.
“I just told them to relax," Reardon said. "We weren’t playing smart. We were making mistakes. They weren't changing anything and they weren’t making big plays. We were just making errors.”
The Shamrocks responded in a resounding manner. Hannah Fish went on an eight point service run to put the visitors up, 8-5.
“In that run we had contributions from everyone,” Reardon said. “We had tough kills from sophomore outside hitter, Kiley O’Donnell to get the run started. Another sophomore middle hitter, Darvey Barrett, had two kills that made us more comfortable. After we got that five point lead it stayed there whole way.”
Shamrocks extended their lead to 15-10 after a pair of kills by Sells and junior outside hitter Sierra Schrader.
The Shamrocks capped off their victory with a 25-20 game three win as Fish shined on another service run that included a crushing ace.
Bishop Feehan will face Fairhaven in the Division 2 finals.
This is the year of the unbeatens, with four top-seeded teams -- Boston English, Lynnfield, Barnstable and Marlboro -- remaining untouched as they head into the MIAA state tournament.
The MIAA released the 2011 girls volleyball brackets with playoff action set to start Friday Nov. 4.
Fellow contenders Case, Frontier, Longmeadow, Andover, Franklin and Cardinal Spellman will also carry the top seed in their respective brackets.
Here are my predictions for the first few rounds:
Andover and Central Catholic will be competing for the driver's seat in the Div. 1 North. Central Catholic served the Golden Warriors its only loss of the season. Reading will be in the backdrop with a solid chance to advance to the semifinals until they meet Central Catholic.
Although Div. 2 Boston English's Yabriela Perez has a killer hit, Melrose should fly by to the final while Lynnfield strides to the Div. 3 North final.
Without a doubt, undefeated Barnstable will see a Div. 1 final appearance with a hopeful knockout of No. 2 seed North Attleboro. Meanwhile, Div. 2 should ultimately come down to Cardinal Spellman and Fairhaven. In Div. 3, Case will have an easy run.
Central will feature triple threats in Newton North, North Quincy and Brookline in Div. 1. Originally, I would have said Medfield would have snatched Div. 2 without a flinch, but the Div. 2 State champion had a falling out this season, dropping four games. Their biggest competition will be undefeated Marlboro.
The West will be a won by either Lincoln-Sudbury or top-seeded Franklin.
When Patriot League adversaries Quincy and North Quincy meet, records get thrown out the window and nothing else matters except that match.
“For us, at this point it is more for pride and to get something behind us before going into tournament,” said Quincy senior setter Nicole Parry.
In the two teams' most recent match, unranked Quincy upset No. 17 North Quincy 3-2 (25-14, 18-25, 21-25, 25-21, 15-11) on Oct. 26. The last set was settled with junior outside hitter Alysha Dunbar’s ace followed by a Parry kill.
Pride is the fuel that feeds these two competitors with a rivalry that goes as far back as the 1980's when both schools reigned in the state tournament, setting the tone for the Boston area. It's possible that the two teams can face each other again in the state tournament.
“It doesn’t mater what the records are, who is playing better, who is at the top or bottom – it’s just a pride match,” said North Quincy coach Kerry Ginty.
“We’ve gone back and forth the past couple of years," Ginty said later. "It’s always a toss up.”
It is no surprise both teams have mirror image offense and defensive play since both coaches actually trained a club team together four years ago. That, along with the fact that most of the girls are neighbors or best friends with each other, enhances the competitiveness and level of play.
“They know each other inside out," Ginty said. "They know our weaknesses more than we do. It is really special that every North Quincy and Quincy sport share.
“It is the color of the jerseys that is the difference.”
Their most recent game was a testament to that.
Quincy found North Quincy’s holes in the front row and began tipping to seal the first set, 25-14.
“We get really pumped up for these games because it is North [Quincy] and they carry a long history so we have to give it our all,” Parry said.
Despite North Quincy makings its biggest comeback in the fourth set, coming back from 14-22 to 21-22, Quincy’s defense settled the score, 25-21.
“You give them an inch and they roll with it,” said Quincy coach Jacqui Niosi.
“We’re lucky to play such an intense game like this before the tournament," Niosi said. "It’s a great preparatory tool where the intensity and pressure is really strong.”
North Quincy was led by senior outside hitter Olivia Umoren (11 kills), who leads the team with 166 kills this season. Senior libero Elizabeth Sullivan totaled 28 digs and senior setter Rachel Chu had 30 digs.
“[Rachel] is such a great hustler. She gets to every ball and I work her hard, but she handles it really well," Ginty said. "I expect a lot out of her and she rose to the occasion.
“She improves leaps and bounds every day," Ginty continued. "She’s our floor general.”
Seniors Lizzie Kelley, Elizabeth Forde, Megan Leahy and Kara Reardon have also had an impact as leaders after helping raising $5,000 for breast cancer.
“It’s a testament to their leadership," Ginty said. "They’re the cream of the crop as far as high schoolers go.”
For Quincy, Parry led the night with 14 assists, 14 digs and 13 kills. Behind her was senior setter D.J. Niosi (14 assists, 10 digs) and freshman libero Emma Kelley (14 digs).
“Our intensity level is a lot higher and our mental focus is much steadier than in games in the past,” Niosi said.
That mentality is sending both teams into the tournament.
In volleyball, if a team finds your weak link, you’re in trouble, said Westboro coach Roger Anderson.
In the end, Westboro found that weak link.
No. 20 Westboro had its biggest win of the season, upsetting previously undefeated host No. 5 Melrose, 3-2 (22-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, 15-11).
It marked the third undefeated team Westboro had faced this season.
Melrose (16-1) took sets one and three, but Westboro powered through three sets to execute the win. The victory came after two hits from senior outside hitter Juliette Lloyd, 15-11, in the fifth set.
“We went to our seniors when it mattered most,” said Anderson.
Lloyd and senior setter Stephanie Melvin had service runs that changed the game play for Westboro, but it was a full team effort, with 54 kills.
“We were just trying to take away [Melrose’s] strengths and did the best we could to slow down their middle hitters. It took everything we had,” said Anderson.
Anderson attributed the win to a better transition and first ball control.
“We were thrilled. You have to celebrate when you have big accomplishments like that,” said Anderson.
Power and placement have fueled Cardinal Spellman to clinch its third Catholic Central League title under coach Ali Gerrish.
The firepower can be found in the middle behind seniors Meggie Gildea and Molly Anderson.
‘‘They’ve both done some damage," Gerrish said. "Between Molly and Meggie controlling the front row with their instinctiveness, hitting with power, and smart placement on the floor, having them up at the net at all times is a big weapon."
The 6-foot Gildea amassed 43 kills, 35 service points, 29 digs, 19 blocks, and 11 aces in a perfect 4-0 run this week for the Cardinals.
Gildea was last year’s team MVP and then the Cardinals' only junior. Her outstanding play has continued with her intensity continually firing up her teammates, Gerrish said.
And then on top of that, Anderson totaled 56 kills, 37 services points, 13 blocks, and eight aces for the week.
"The power and placement they use up front serve as different weapons and that’s something we talked about – being smart and reading our opponents," Gerrish said.
This past week wasn’t out of character for the two captains, and luckily for Gerrish the rest of her team does not fall short either.
Senior setter Nicole DiRenzo had 104 assists this week, totaling 74 alone in two games.
"Nicole is very receptive and has a great demeanor," Gerrish said. "She doesn’t get too shaken up and has a consistent personality on and off the court.
"[Our hitters] can communicate and rely on her."
Against Falmouth, the Cardinals delivered a resilient defensive game after losing two sets, the first time this season, but came back to win 3-2 (25-15, 25-27, 25-20, 18-25, 15-12) after senior libero Jess Sims landed 10 consecutive service aces.
In that game, DiRenzo had 34 assists while Sims, Gildea, and senior outside hitter Alex Pantano combined for 47 digs.
"Part of our strength is cohesiveness and working really hard to be on the same page at all times," Gerrish said. "This past week, we really reached our peak as a unit."
Pantano tallied 29 digs and 16 kills this week while senior outside hitter Jess Ezepik had 35 digs. Sophomore outside hitter Emily DeBarros pitched in 19 kills.
In her four years of coaching, Gerrish said these are the biggest numbers she has seen from any team she has coached.
Games of the week
No. 20 Westboro at No. 5 Melrose, Mon., 5:30 p.m. — Melrose remains undefeated with a 16-game streak as setter Brooke Bell recorded her 1000th career assist last week.
Newton South at No. 10 Lincoln-Sudbury, Tue., 4 p.m. — Lincoln-Sudbury hopes to move past Dual County rival Newton South the second time around after taking a 3-1 victory earlier this season.
No. 16 North Quincy at Quincy, Wed., 4 p.m. — North Quincy powered past Patriot League rival Quincy in last fall’s Central/East sectional semifinals, 3-2, and again earlier this season, 3-1.
No. 4 Medfield at No. 6 Frontier, Wed., 7 p.m. — Medfield was bumped down a spot in the rankings after a loss to unranked Medway, 3-1. Frontier could take this home match.
No. 8 Brookline at No. 10 Lincoln-Sudbury, Fri., 4:30 p.m. — Lincoln-Sudbury’s ultimate test will be against Bay State leader Brookline, which handed the Warriors their only loss of the season, 3-1.
Players of the week
Rachel Pierre, Madison Park — The senior tallied 21 service points and four aces against Brighton, 3-0.
Tara Lyons, Bourne — The senior tri-captain had 13 kills, 12 service points, 10 digs and a block against Wareham.
Kat Mazzone, North Reading — The senior outside hitter had 30 digs to pace the Hornets over Bishop Fenwick, 3-2.
Meggie Gildea, Cardinal Spellman — The senior captain had 43 kills, 35 service points, 29 digs, 19 blocks and 11 aces in a perfect 4-0 week for the Cardinals.
Kristina Ofeodu, St. Clement — The junior middle hitter locked in 23 service points, 15 kills, 14 digs and eight aces.
Melrose volleyball remains untouched.
The fifth-ranked Red Raiders are setting the bar high for the Middlesex League, undefeated at 12-0. And it gets better. Last year’s Division 2 state semifinalist has yet to be pushed to five games, registering wins over, among others, No. 16 Reading and No. 17 Central Catholic.
“We try to be as perfect as we can,’’ said Melrose coach Scott Celli.
The sparkplug is Brooke Bell, a captain who, according to Celli, has developed into the best setter in the state. Bell has 275 assists this year and 909 for her career, and she is only a junior.
“Her court vision is the best so far this year among anyone we’ve seen,’’ said Celli. “She has this innate ability to see where the weaknesses are and dictates who she passes to.’’
Up front, Bell has chemistry with middle hitter Sarah McGowan. Her transition to the front has boosted the attack of the Red Raiders, who have 139 kills.
“I haven’t seen a better hitter than her this year,’’ said Celli.
“We have very good efficiency on the outside,’’ Celli added said, with senior Jill Slabacheski (50 kills) and junior Jen Cain (64 kills). With their hitting locked in, junior middle hitter Rachel Johnson (79 kills) is able to average three blocks per game.
“Our block is as good as ever,’’ said Celli.
The front row is not the only place where the Red Raiders have had solid performances. They’ve also been on fire from the service line.
Junior lefthander Amanda Commito returned after losing a year with a torn ACL, and her float serve gets opponents off-balance. Commito is 177 for 184 on serves. Another potent serving threat is sophomore Jill MacInnes, who is nearly perfect at the line at 152 for 156.
The Red Raiders’ turning point this season was the win over Central Catholic, which Melrose had not beaten in four years.
“That was the girls’ goal this season,’’ said Celli. “The team knows how to face adversity and they know how to win.’’
Central Catholic took the first game, 25-20, but Melrose then took three straight, 25-19, 28-26, 25-23.
In the third game, the Red Raiders were down, 23-13, and then 24-16. At that point, McGowan won nine consecutive service points.
McGowan (21 kills) and Bell (43 assists) notched their career highs in that match.
Celli said it was the best comeback he has ever witnessed from his team.
“It’s a luxury for me as a coach that I don’t have to coach them to get goals accomplished,’’ he said. “Plus, with Brooke running the show, we’re good to go.’’
Melrose’s ultimate test will be in its season finale against Lincoln-Sudbury.
Games of the week
No. 9 Lincoln-Sudbury at No. 20 Boston Latin, Tues., 4:30 p.m. - Lincoln-Sudbury is looking for another shot at the Division 1 state title, after falling to Barnstable in last year’s final. Although L-S already beat Boston Latin, 3-0, this season, its seven-game winning streak was recently snapped by No. 8 Brookline.
No. 6 Andover at No. 17 Central Catholic, Tues., 5 p.m. - Andover took down Central Catholic, 3-0, in last year’s Division 1 state semifinals. This is the first meeting since, and the two also face off to end the regular season.
No. 11 Marlborough at No. 18 Westborough, Thurs., 5 p.m. - Marlborough remains undefeated with 10 consecutive wins, handing Westborough one of its two losses.
No. 19 Franklin at Canton, Thurs., 6:15 p.m. - New Top 20 addition Franklin takes on Canton, which is just on the outskirts of the rankings. Canton has beaten Franklin, 3-1, so this game will likely decide which team is in the Top 20 next week.
Players of the week
Shannon Cullen, Walpole - The senior middle hitter had nine aces and seven kills against Bay State rivals Norwood and Needham.
Brooke Bell, Melrose - The junior setter led the fifth-ranked Red Raiders to wins over Central Catholic, Winchester, and Belmont. She accumulated 91 assists, 13 kills, and was 13 for 13 from the service line.
Andrea King, North Andover - King tallied 18 service points, 9 digs, 8 aces, and 6 kills in a 3-0 win over Beverly.
Eliza Bowes, Dennis-Yarmouth - The outside hitter totaled 17 digs and 12 kills against Plymouth South in a 3-1 win.
Kaylee Deluga, Barnstable - The middle hitter racked up 16 kills, 3 blocks, and an assist in a 3-1 victory over No. 2 Case.
Barnstable has extended its stretch atop the the Globe's volleyball rankings. And although the team is stacked with potential to return to the state finals, the top 10 teams are going to be a bracket in need of a close watch.
In the running are Medfield, Case, Melrose and Andover. Case, with a senior-loaded team, is sure to make a dent in the playoffs and currently holds the No. 3 spot. Their place in the rankings will be either upheld or upended in the coming weeks with tough competition coming against Fairhaven (beat them 3-2 in the season opener) and No. 1 Barnstable.
Melrose and Andover have not had any upsets yet.
Division 2's Medfield returns with its its only loss to Division 1 champion Barnstable. Andover and Division 3 champion Frontier have had a solid start, but the story of the week is Brookline vs. Lincoln-Sudbury.
No. 7 Brookline, which suffered its only loss to No. 13 Newton North, put up a road block to end No. 8 Lincoln-Sudbury’s seven-game streak. The move bumped up Brookline into the top 10. We’ll keep an eye on them until they face Lincoln-Sudbury at the end of regular season.
Reading and Canton are new additions to the list with solid runs in their respective conferences.
Liz Torres can be reached at email@example.com.
Breaking a school record was not only a personal goal for No. 5 Case’s Briana Sousa, it was a goal she wanted to accomplish for her dad. After a three-game slump, Sousa broke out against New Bedford in a 3-0 win with five blocks for Case career record of 132.
Sousa devoted the achievement to her dad after originally trying for his birthday earlier this week.
“She was all red, excited and flustered," said Case coach Denise Levesque. "She really wanted to get it for her dad’s birthday.
"He was overjoyed.”
The previous record was held by Lauren Saylor, who set it in 2005 with 127 blocks.
At 5-10, the three-year middle hitter broke the season record (71) for blocking last year.
“She has really long arms and with her opposite blocker [Danielle Robillard], they have a pretty strong block,” said Levesque, who added that Sousa's skills have helped keep Case (7-0, 6-0) undefeated in the South Coast Conference.
Barnstable volleyball coach Tom Turco doesn't say much before matches.
Then again, he rarely has to.
"I don't give any speeches," Turco said. "If they're not mentally prepared by the time they get to the gym, they're not ready. They know what the big matches are and they rise to the occasion."
The top-ranked Red Raiders certainly stepped up Thursday night, rolling over host No. 2 Medfield, 25-16, 25-17, 25-15, behind 16 kills from senior Kaylee Deluga and 31 assists from junior setter Kayla Crook. Barnstable hadn't beaten the Warriors since 2008.
Inside a sweltering gym, Deluga, an All-Scholastic who was on the Division 1 All-State team and senior Aine Cole, normally both middle-hitters, had to play on the back line because Barnstable was missing its libero.
"They stepped up and played big defense in the back," said Turco, chalking Deluga and Cole's performance up to their veteran status. "But they're seasoned, they're able to adjust to these situations."
Junior Regan Bristol seven kills for the Red Raiders, who improved to 6-0. Despite snapping a three-year, three-match winless streak against Medfield, the post-match mood was more focused on the future than jubilant at the present.
"They're pretty even-keeled," Turco said. "They were excited but they respect Medfield. They understand that their goal is to compete at a high level by way of our schedule for one purpose, and that's to prepare themselves for the tournament. So they're happy, but they weren't jumping around."
A 13-time Division 1 championship dynasty does not come without rivalries and Wednesday night, Div. 1 girls' volleyball champ Barnstable took on one of its longest.
In its season opener, host Barnstable claimed a 3-0 win over Div. 1 state semifinalist North Quincy, a rival for more than two decades (25-17, 25-16, 25-12).
"That's a long one that's been going on for 20, 21 years. And this year was one of the strongest North Quincy teams I've seen," said Red Raiders coach Tom Turco, who began his 24th year with the team.
Although the Red Raiders got off to a shaky start in the first set, tying North Quincy, 12-12, kills from Aine Cole (10) and Carolyn Morin (7) gave them momentum that continued into the second set.
"[North Quincy] picked up a lot of balls off the floor but we had more of an offense, and that was the game-changer," said Turco. "We're hitting from a pretty high hitting percentage and our serve receive is solid. Overall we have a pretty balanced offense and we're hitting from all three spots in the front row."
North Quincy picked up its play at the net in the third set with 14 combined blocks from Maya Umoren and Carolyn Schwartz and four kills and two blocks from Olivia Umoren, but the Red Raiders' Nikki Deluga got under hits with 17 digs.
The Red Raiders took a 17-5 lead in the third behind their seniors and some promising underclassmen. Despite Elizabeth Sullivan's 13 digs for North Quincy, Barnstable was able to outlast its rival behind returning Globe All-Scholastic Kaylee Deluga and Regan Bristol's (10 kills) offensive attack and MGVCA All-State Kayla Crook's 35 assists for the win. Carolyn Morin contributed seven kills.
"I rely heavily on [my senior leadership]," said Turco. "It's their last shot and this is their year. There's a sense of urgency and my seniors are my leaders, that's the way it's always been.
"I don't set any goals for them. They set goals for themselves."
After a 3-2 win over Westford Academy to open the season, Boston Latin's girls volleyball team has set its sights on dethroning Lincoln-Sudbury from its three-year perch atop the DCL this season.
“Our first goal is to get into the playoffs, but we also want a shot at L-S,” said Boston Latin coach Kai Yuen after his teams’ hard fought win over Westford Academy on the road earlier tonight. “We’re not feeling like we need to be perfect [to beat L-S], we just need to play well and we’ll see what happens.”
The Wolfpack will get their first of two shots at the reigning champs next Tuesday. If they’re going to be successful they’ll need strong performances from senior captains Claire Zimmerman, who was a Dual County All-Star as a junior, and Courtney Hoban.
Zimmerman led the Pack with 25 kills from the middle hitter position, while Hoban chipped in with 14 of her own, as Boston Latin and Westford Academy traded sets until the fifth, where Zimmerman helped Latin lock up the win, 15-11.
“[Zimmerman’s] the heart of our defense and the strength of our offense,” said Yuen. “It’s still early but I think she has a real chance to be the DCL MVP.”
“It was nice to beat Westford because they got us last year and it shows that we’re making progress,” said Yuen.
The Wolfpack, which return five starters from last season’s team that went 10-9, struggled with the serve all match, making 20 unforced service errors. But the rusty service game didn’t temper Yuen’s excitement for his team this season.
“It’s encouraging to know that even with all the trouble serving we were still in every game,” he said. “The rest of our game was holding together well. We were outplaying them in all other aspects of the game.”
Even with the match going to the final game and their service game still struggling, there was no panic on Latin's side of the net, according to Yuen, who was quick to give credit to the senior leadership.
“We have the makeup of a very good team,” he said. “I think last year our juniors got trapped into thinking that they still had another year to show what they could do. Now that that this year’s come you can see the rise in urgency.”
“I’m sure both [L-S and Latin] will have some rust when we play next week because neither of us have had a ton of time to practice yet," said Yuen. “Our service game is normally strong. If we show that then it should be a real good match. Either way, we’ll go after them. This year we're going to be one of the teams to watch.”
Fall is upon us. Last Monday, high schools around the state began their first practices for the upcoming football season. On Thursday, they put the pads on while other sports began their first practices of the year. With schools getting back in the groove of things, it's only right that we ramp up ourselves.
This fall, you can count on a new group of correspondents for your high school football coverage on Boston.com and in the Globe. Here's our list of football correspondents and their assigned beats:
Division 1 and 1A - Anthony Gulizia
D2 and 2A - Ryan Mooney
D3 and 3A - Patrick McHugh
D4 - Juan Rivera
D4A and 5 - Lorenzo Recupero
Our beloved correspondents Mike Carraggi and Mike Grossi are now busied with other endeavors (including moving on with life), but I doubt we've seen the last of them. You can also be sure that I'll fill in wherever else is needed.
For volleyball, you can expect to see stories again from Liz Torres, and for soccer you can expect coverage from both Craig Forde (boys) and Seth Lakso (girls). We'll have a host of people chip in elsewhere.
If you have story ideas for us, please pass them along. We're always open for any ideas. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? We'll take those too.
I'm looking forward to another great season while bringing you some great coverage throughout the year. Vacation is now officially over.
Wellesley High School product Tierra Allen will play volleyball for Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn., the university's athletics department announced. Tierra is Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen's daughter.
"Tierra is one of the most powerful athletes I saw last season," Quinnipiac head coach Robin Sparks said. "She has a fantastic jump serve and hits the ball with authority. Once she adjusts to the pace of the collegiate game, she is going to be a terrific contributor."
Allen, who played her first three high school years in South Carolina at Crestwood High School, was a four-time league all-star and a two-time all-area selection between the two schools. She averaged 10 kills, 10 service points and three assists per match as a senior, and was named a Boston Globe Bay State All-Star.
Chicopee Comp (14-3) snapped a 23-year title drought with a state championship last season with a 19-0 season, but the Colts will have plenty of competition this season.
Agawam (19-0) beat he Colts in both regular season matches (3-1, 3-0). Unless West Springfield (15-3) goes on a run, fans can look forward to a Chicopee Comp v. Agawam sectional final.
For the North, the team to beat this year is Haverhill, which slipped up against Central Catholic after a 16-game winning streak. The Hillies (17-1) have a squad loaded with upperclassmen and should advance further than last year's quarterfinal run.
Lawrence (18-2) is a team to watch, with its only regular season losses to Haverhill (3-2, 3-0).
The South is where things get a little shaky.
The top four seeded teams, Barnstable, Newton North, North Quincy, and Newton South, are all contenders.
Barnstable (16-2) had an undefeated run last year into the semifinals and has had consistent play in the regular season despite losing to North Quincy (3-0).
North Quincy (12-3) and Newton North (14-2) also have been solid, but ultimately, Newton South has the experience and the strength.
Newton South (16-4) has fourteen consecutive tournament appearances but hasn't won a league title in 11 years. The Lions will count on senior Josh Horenstein in the back row (257 kills, 225 digs, 21 aces) last season.
As for Central, if 15-1 Lincoln-Sudbury, which had a perfect run despite a season-opening loss, can charge up the Swords-Houpt duo, the Warriors will ease past their semifinal spot last year. These two athletes will be players to watch throughout the tournament. The only threat in the way of a Warriors sectional championship would be state finalist Natick, which had a 14-2 season.
The biggest moment for the Globe's boys' volleyball top 10 this week was highlighted by Central Catholic’s takedown of No. 1 Haverhill, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to deny the Hillies. The win bumped Central Catholic (11-6) to No. 6 in the rankings.
With the tournament in mind, this week’s rankings have fluctuated among the usual contenders.
Returning state finalist Natick (12-2) moved up to No. 4, with only two losses and tournament experience against Western Massachusetts teams.
No. 5 Newton South has the talent to make another run for the state title after making its way to the state semifinals against Chicopee Comprehensive last year.
No. 7 Barnstable (15-1) will be a threat in tourney play, along with Western Alliance addition No. 8 St. John’s Prep (12-3).
Newton North (13-2) and Framingham (15-1) completed the Globe's Top 10, representing the Bay State Conference.
Some new names to the Top 10 are No. 4 Xaverian, No. 9 Natick, and No. 10 Framingham.
Xaverian tops the Western Alliance (6-0) with its only two non-league losses to Lincoln-Sudbury and St. John’s Prep. Natick and Framingham each have one loss with Natick (8-1) losing to Newton North, but otherwise having eight reported shutouts. Framingham (6-1) stunned No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury in its home opener along with top competitor Newton North.
No. 8 Newton South and No. 6 Barnstable each dropped a few slots after the Red Raiders suffered a loss to Durfee and struggled against Quincy. After a comeback, Newton South wasn’t able to top No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury, showcasing a weaker offense.
No. 7 Central Catholic was the only previously top-rated team to move up a spot after a 3-2 win over Andover.
New Bedford's Maura Manley is starting to pile up the accolades. Just three days after being named the Globe's Division 1 volleyball player of the year, Manley nabbed the Gatorade Massachusetts player of the year honors as well.
Here's the nugget from our All-Scholastics section on Manley:
The three-time Big Three All-Star had 1,401 career kills, setting a school record for kills in a season with 408. The National Honor Society member led her team to the Division 1 state title in '09 and she's a two-time All-Scholastic. Manley will attend Dartmouth College.
Check out all of our All-Scholastics here.
In preparation for this Saturday's state finals, here's my take on how things will pan out.
Division 1: Barnstable vs. Lincoln Sudbury
We've seen this matchup in ’08 when the Red Raiders overpowered Lincoln Sudbury 3-0 in the state championship, the last state title Barnstable saw before its state record 110-game winning streak came to an end.
Since then, Red Raiders coach Tom Turco has been rebuilding and showcased his girls’ drive and skill this season in the state semifinal against Andover where his team came back from a 2 game deficit to take down one of the best teams in the state. The Red Raiders (20-2) were the second team to deliver a set to the Golden Warriors (24-1) loss all season.
Now that previous Division 1 champion New Bedford is out of the running, defeating both Lincoln-Sudbury, in the state semis, and Barnstable, in the D1 South semis, the final round is fair game. The Warriors (22-1) have looked at a solid season with balance and senior leadership hauling the team’s success.
However, the turf might be in favor of the Red Raiders who have brought back that fire that landed them, 12 state championships, 6 consecutive titles from ’03-‘08, in addition to having one of the, if not the toughest schedule in the state. Also, we’ve seen Kaylee Deluga who has been unstoppable.
My call: Barnstable will come back to give Turco his 504th victory.
Division 2: Fairhaven vs. Medfield
Defending state champion Medfield has had no problem repeating its undefeated record from last year with two-time Globe coach of the year Jack Hastings. The Warriors have five titles from ’98, ’05, ’06, ’08, and ’09.
Fairhaven (20-2) has made it to the tournament for the past 4 years but hasn’t been able to make it past the sectionals, making this the first year in the school’s history for any volleyball team to make it to the state final.
The difference in this matchup is the Warriors have taken on perennial powerhouse Barnstable whereas the Blue Devils have fallen to the dynamic programs of state champions Case and New Bedford.
With the Warriors’ expertise at this level, they could bring in another title but it’ll definitely be a tough with Kendall Mccurdy and Natalie Dickinson to compete against the Blue Devils’ Division 2 fifth-ranked hitter Kara Charette and Kayli Moniz leading the pack in digs.
My call: Medfield for its third consecutive state title.
Division 3: Case vs. Frontier
This will be a matchup to look out for. Returning state champion Case took on Frontier 3-1 in last year’s state semifinals and is ranked eighth in the state.
Frontier has been stuck in the semifinal pit for the past three years, last winning a state title in ’06 and is ranked 11th in the state.
This year, the Red Hawks are piling up the stats in Division 2 with Cassidy Stankowski ranking second with 173 kills and Katy Daniels following her in sixth place with 163 kills. Setter Tori Daniels is ranked second with 377 assists.
Case’s performance isn’t ranked too high on the stat board but hitter Shannon Orton will definitely show her presence on the court.
My call: Although I’d like to root for the underdog, Case has taken down Frontier and has a good chance of doing it this season. But … I don’t see Frontier going down without a fight.
Although most teams have had to rebuild this year, the girls program has upped the par for volleyball this season to give this year’s powerhouses a run for their money. Here are my picks in each part of the sectional brackets.
Easy call. With the semifinals including a matchup between undefeated first seed Andover and fourth-seeded Central Catholic (16-4), it’ll be no challenge for Andover, considering they’ve already taken down Central Catholic twice in the regular season.
Chelmsford has had a bit of a sloppy season in comparison to Reading so we’ll be looking at an Andover/Reading (19-3) matchup for the sectional final.
My call: Considering Andover has already served Reading a loss, they’ll definitely pull through, undefeated, for the state spot.
North Reading (19-2) has had a solid season until recently, dropping two losses and possibly falling under pressure with the tournament, easing Melrose (19-2) into a final spot.
Bishop Fenwick (19-2) should find no problem taking on Bedford (13-9) which hasn’t had as much of a challenging schedule.
My call: Melrose for the state spot since they’ve served Bishop Fenwick a loss and have on-spot hitters Athena Ziavras and Rachel Johnson with a combined 314 kills.
Lynnfield (17-4) has had the most competitive schedule out of both matchups and the least losses so I’m looking at them to have a definite spot in the final.
My call: Lynnfield.
Here’s where the competition gets interesting. D1 South probably has three of this year’s break-out performance powerhouses: North Attleboro, Barnstable and New Bedford.
North Attleboro (20-0) has had an undefeated run and Barnstable (17-2) has had its revival this year, possibly even tough enough to take the states. New Bedford (17-1) has had a solid performance.
Notre Dame Hingham (17-4) has made the jump to D1 and is mixing things up a bit with Meaghan Lee ranking ninth in the states for kills and setter Kelcei Sullivan adding up 205 assists; also having served Barnstable its first set loss.
But, will this be enough against the New Bedford trio Manley, Howard and Thompson?
As for North Attleboro and Barnstable, it’s a tight race. My feeling is Barnstable since its only two losses have been to Medfield and they have lost less set matches than North Attleboro.
My call: We’ll most likely look at Barnstable and New Bedford for the final. I’d like to see Barnstable make a comeback, but it’s a tough call.
Easy call with Fairhaven (17-2) since they’re 2-0 over Bourne. They’ll match-up with Bishop Feehan (14-6) who has the more competitive schedule over Greater New Bedford (16-5).
My call: Fairhaven.
Ultimately, the call will be between undefeated Case and Sacred Heart (16-3).
My call: Case. The team is more competitive and well-rounded.
Central/East Division 1
Another close call. Quincy (20-2) is on an eight-game winning streak. But Newton North (16-2) will definitely be the victor since North Quincy’s (18-4) losses are to less high-seeded teams.
We’re looking at Quincy and Newton North for the sectional final, both evenly matched.
My call: Quincy.
Central/East Division 2
This is definitely another year for state champion Medfield (21-0), so we’ll see their face again in the state tournament. Marlboro (19-0) and Hopkinton (17-2) are even matched so it’s fair game since Hopkinton’s only losses are to Medfield.
My call: Medfield. No Argument.
Central/East Division 3
To play it safe, I’m going with both undefeated teams: Sutton and Ayer for the sectional final matchup since the competition are lower seeds.
My call: Sutton and Ayer.
Central/West Division 1
Another easy call: Lincoln-Sudbury making its 12th tournament appearance so they know the game. My guess is Westford since their losses are to top competitors Lincoln-Sudbury and Chelmsford.
My call: Lincoln-Sudbury.
Check out all of the volleyball brackets on the MIAA's website.
Any time Medfield and Barnstable meet on the volleyball court it’s an occasion to remember. Last night’s match in the Warriors' home gym was no exception.
“We’ve had such great matches together in recent years,” said Medfield coach Jack Hastings. “You know that you’re going to go down there, or they’re going to come up here, and neither one is going to fall down, roll over and play dead.”
Both teams came in with sterling records, Medfield at a perfect 19-0, and Barnstable at a near-perfect 14-1. After four hard-fought sets, the Warriors prevailed, preserving their flawless regular season record.
Medfield took the first two sets 25-21 and 25-19, but dropped the third 22-25, just the fourth set the team has surrendered all season. The Warriors rebounded in the next set
with a 25-19 win.
Hastings said he was glad the game was played at Medfield, because playing at Barnstable has a way of intimidating even the top teams.
“It’s the toughest venue that I’ve ever coached in, my 21 years,” he said. “They must pay people to fill up the place because it’s mobbed. I think every person down in Cape Cod is in the gym when we play them.”
Hastings said that Barnstable is one of the best teams his girls face all season, and a match against them should help the Warriors prepare for what he hopes will be a deep postseason run.
“They’re right up there. We look forward to playing them, that’s why we schedule them,” he said. “I thought it would help us both going into the tournament, that’s for sure.
Natalie Dickinson (8 blocks), Kathleen Krah (15 kills) and Hannah Donnelly (32 assists) were the top contributors to the Warriors’ win.
Marshfield volleyball seniors Jackie Keating and Emily Boudreau both went off Wednesday night with 19 kills apiece in a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Plymouth South.
“Jackie was unbelievable all night –– that’s the best I’ve seen her play,” Marshfield coach Al Mirabile said. “Just unbelievable.”
The win puts the Rams (9-3, 8-0 Atlantic Coast League) one win away from locking up a second-straight league title.
Marshfield had to come back after the Panthers won games one and three to force a deciding fifth game. With a 7-5 lead in the game, junior Renae Hatcher came to the service line and ran off eight straight points for the win.
Keating and Boudreau both shined in the final game. On Hatcher’s first serve, Keating ended the volley with a kill, then Boudreau followed with three straight kills of her own. Keating earned point No. 12 with a kill, and Boudreau netted No. 13 with a block.
Senior Allison Robinson also added to the winning effort with 21 digs –– “She played lights out defensively,” Mirabile said.
This fall the Globe’s high school standings will be based entirely on game results and not on Sunday phone calls or emails from league representatives. It’s actually something we started in January with winter sports. And even with a few speed bumps, it was incredibly successful. We think the change has been a huge benefit to school fans looking to see where their team stands every day of the week, not just on the one day standings are updated.
How does it work?
When coaches call in their games scores during the week, our database will compile the standings and they will be available 24/7 on Boston.com/schools. This is what we’ve done the past three years for football, then began with winter and spring sports this past year. We’re now expanding that system to include all sports. But we still need league representatives. The only information we need, however, are the league’s leading performers, whether hitters, pitchers, goal scorers/assists, goalies, or runners.
What are the benefits of doing this?
Under the old system, standings we took on Sunday afternoons were only accurate until a team played its next game. This meant that after a big Tuesday of soccer, fans had to wait until the following Monday’s paper to see the league standings. Now, after you watch your team beat its cross-town rival and your coach calls in the score, you can go home, click on Boston.com and see the league standings.
What are the drawbacks?
If your school doesn’t call in the scores, then your record will be 0-0 all year (unless an opposing coach calls in the game against your team). Even if a league representative insists your team is 10-0, the only way we can make the standings agree is to get the scores of the 10 games.
How do we get you any missing scores?
Scores can be emailed to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to designate the home and away teams and the date of the game.
As with any new system there will be an adjustment period. But we hope you agree, accurate standings seven days a week are better than just one.
With six-time state volleyball champion Barnstable dominating Division 1 for the past decade, it seemed unlikely anyone other than the Red Raiders would win the 2009 MIAA state title.
Enter New Bedford.
The Whalers skyrocketed to an undefeated season, beating Barnstable in the South semifinals, Brockton in the finals and eventually Central Catholic in the state championship to finish 23-0.
‘‘We beat our nemesis Barnstable because of our defense ... we just outplayed them. It was a huge victory for us,” said Whalers coach Neil Macedo. ‘‘It gave us more confidence. We’re a good, balanced team and that’s why we can compete against them,’’ he said.
We've got a number of correspondents ready to rock 'n' roll for this fall coverage of football, soccer, volleyball and everything else. As usual, we've split up the divisions in football for correspondents and have passed on entire sports to others. Field hockey and golf will not have dedicated correspondents. Here's the list of folks providing coverage and some contact e-mails. You should see these names aplenty in the upcoming months.
- Division 1 - Mike Carraggi, email@example.com
- Division 1A - Emily Wright, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Division 2 and 2A - Mike Grossi, email@example.com
- Division 3 and 3A - Jake Seiner
- Division 4 and 4A - Lorenzo Recupero
- Braden Campbell, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Liz Torres, email@example.com
Second-seeded Newton South will meet crosstown rival Newton North in the Division 1 South volleyball sectional final on Tuesday after both schools won today.
After losing the first set 25-23, the Lions (21-1) won the next three sets 25-17, 25-22, and 30-28. The attacking trio of Alex O'Hagan (16 kills), Ethan Landzberg (15 kills), and Josh Horenstein (14 kills) set the tone for the match with their play at the net.
Setter Eugene Kirimov notched a career-high 50 assists.
The Tigers (14-4) earned their berth in the final by handing No. 1 Barnstable its first loss of the season. Newton North fell behind by two sets (25-17, 27-25) before claiming the final three (25-16, 25-16, 15-10) to pull off the upset.
With all of last year’s elite volleyball programs making an appearance in this year’s tournament, it’ll be an interesting one to watch. Just as a reminder, both Chicopee Comp and Newton South fell to St. John’s Prep and Lincoln-Sudbury in the state semifinals with Lincoln-Sudbury prevailing in the state finals. However, Lincoln-Sudbury has drifted this season, highlighting the trio of elites: St. John’s Prep, Chelmsford and Newton South.
After losing to St. John’s Prep in the semifinals last year, Chelmsford (17-3) is going to need to overcome rising Cambridge (15-3) who served St. John’s Prep its only loss this season.
The games to watch will be Chelmsford vs. Cambridge in the semi-finals and the winner against St. John’s Prep’s offensive weapon, 6-foot-7 middle hitter Andrew Lutz. My call is St. John’s Prep finishing at 21-1.
Predicted winner: St. John's Prep
This season, Newton South (19-1) locked in wins against last year’s state victor, Lincoln-Sudbury and has clinched its 13th consecutive season in the playoffs. Newton South will surely be a tough team to beat. Although undefeated at 17-0, Barnstable did not play a tough schedule so the matchup against Newton South will be one to watch in the finals.
Predicted winner: Newton South
Two-time defending champ Chicopee Comp is returning this year as an undefeated threat. Best hopes are for Chicopee Comp (17-0) and Minnechaug to meet up again, but Agawam (16-2) might intervene.
Predicted winner: Chicopee Comp
Last but not least, there is Lincoln-Sudbury (13-4) who has not played the top-notch offense it’s used to, especially after losing its season series to Newton South. Sixth-seeded Lincoln-Sudbury will need to take on Natick (15-1) to even touch undefeated Wachusett (20-0).
Predicted winner: Natick
The last regular season match for the Barnstable's boys volleyball team was all about the seniors — and it wasn’t just because it was senior night.
Erik Hibbard, Barnstable's senior middle hitter, polished a win 3-0 over BC High (5-9) Monday with a dominating kill assisted by Christian Caldwell, the junior setter who had 28 assists for the day.
The Raiders finish the season 18-0 and are likely to gain the No. 1 seed in the state tournament, which will be announced Tuesday.
Head coach Tom Turco said that the boys knew they had to “step-up if they wanted to do well at the state level.” In the past two years, Barnstable has lost in the first round of the playoffs to Brookline.
Shawn Kennedy, senior co-captain, provided a stellar performance for the Raiders with 9 kills, 4 digs and 5 aces. The 5-foot, 11-inch outside hitter used his 34-inch vertical at the net to show why he will be playing volleyball next spring at Johnson & Wales in Providence, Rhode Island.
“Shawn is the first player to go on to play at a collegiate level from this boys’ program,” Turco said. “And we hope that it will be contagious in the future.”
Kennedy has only been playing volleyball for the past two years.
Tulio Pereira, a 6-4 senior and co-captain, contributed to the win with 11 kills and 8 digs.
“We actually have a great chance to do well in the playoffs and this season proved that,” Pereira said.
BC High struggled to keep up in the first game, dropping it 25-12 before losing the second 25-17. The two teams battled point for point in the third before the Raiders stole the show, overmatching the Eagles 25-13.
With the pairings for the MIAA volleyball tournament out Tuesday, some of the top teams north of Boston will take to the courts Monday night in the third annual MVC Volleyball Night at Chelmsford.
Four matches will be held with two at 5 p.m., two at 7 p.m. In the early games, Methuen will face Lowell and Billerica plays Dracut. At 7 p.m., Andover plays Haverhill and Chelmsford will take on Lawrence.
Marlborough High school is looking for a number of head coaches to fill vacancies for Fall 2010.
Among the coaching openings are:
- Varsity Cheerleading Coach
- Varsity Boys Cross-Country Coach
- Varsity Girls Cross-Country Coach
- Varsity Football Coach
- Varsity Field Hockey Coach
- Varsity Golf Coach
- Varsity Boys Soccer Coach
- Varsity Girls Soccer Coach
- Varsity Girls Volleyball Coach
Interested applicants are being asked to apply online at Marlborough.schoolfusion.us.
This spring, the Globe’s high school standings will be based entirely on game results and not on Sunday phone calls or emails from league representatives. We think the change will be a huge benefit to spring fans looking to see where their team stands every day of the week, not just on the one day standings are updated.
How does it work?
When coaches call in their games scores during the week, our database will compile the standings and they will be available 24/7 on Boston.com/schools. This is what we’ve done the past two years for football and we’re now expanding that system to include spring sports. The only information we need from league representatives are the league’s leading performers, whether hitters, pitchers, goalies, or runners.
What are the benefits of doing this?
Under the old system, standings we took on Sunday afternoons were only accurate until a team played its next game. This meant that after a big Tuesday of baseball, fans had to wait until the following Monday’s paper to see the league standings. Now, after you watch your team beat its cross-town rival and your coach calls in the score, you can go home, click on Boston.com and see the league standings.
What are the drawbacks?
If your school doesn’t call in the scores, then your record will be 0-0 all year. Even if a league representative says your team is 10-0, the only way we can make the standings agree is to get the scores of the 10 games.
How do we get you any missing scores?
Scores can be emailed to us at HSsports@globe.com. Be sure to designate the
home and away teams.
As with any new system there will be an adjustment period. But we hope you agree, accurate standings sevens days a week are better than just one.
Globe photographers were hard at work over the final days of the spring high school sports season. Check out our collection of galleries from this week's state championship tilts and the Globe's Scholar-Athlete Awards banquet on Sunday.
- Sunday, June 14: The Globe's Scholar-Athletes Awards.
- Saturday, June 13: State baseball finals in Lowell; State softball finals in Worcester; Individual tennis finals in Worcester.
- Friday, June 12: State lacrosse finals (Walpole vs. St. John's Shrewsbury; Westwood vs. Longmeadow) in Worcester.
- Thursday, June 11: State volleyball final: St. John's Prep vs. Lincoln-Sudbury in Ashland; State team tennis final: Concord-Carlisle vs. Longmeadow in Worcester.
- Wednesday, June 10: State lacrosse finals (Duxbury vs. St. John's Prep; Scituate vs. Dover-Sherborn) in Worcester.
- Tuesday, June 9: State lacrosse final: North Andover vs. Norwell in Wellesley.
With the MIAA volleyball pairings out Tuesday, some of the best teams in the North will put their skills on display Monday at the second annual Merrimack Valley Volleyball Night at Chelmsford High. Four matches will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. with Andover facing Haverhill and Central Catholic taking on St. John's Prep. At 7 p.m., host Chelmsford will face Lawrence and Lowell will play Methuen.
At the end of the night the MVC Players of the Year and All-Conference teams will be announced.
Millis celebrates its Division 3 title (Evan Richman / Globe Staff)
Follow the links below for recaps of all three of today's state final volleyball matchups (or click the "full entry" link below to read them all).FULL ENTRY
One year ago, the Medfield volleyball team narrowly lost a five-game Div. 2 Central final match to Westboro after charging back from a 2-0 deficit. Since then, the Warriors have been on a long road to redemption that has seen them battle top-tier competition in Connecticut and New York and win the Tri-Valley League title.
Win or lose, the road will end on Saturday in Hudson.
The Globe's Chris Estrada and Amanda Bruno check in with longer recaps from Saturday's tournament action.
From the volleyball court, Bruno recaps Lincoln-Sudbury's 3-0 triumph over Milford in a Central sectional final. From the softball diamond, Estrada recounts King Philip's 10-1 trouncing of Hockomock-league rival Stoughton in a first-round matchup.FULL ENTRY
The MIAA has released the boys' volleyball brackets. Hop over to the tournament brackets for the details.
For those curious, the Globe begins collecting high school sports standings for the spring season this Sunday, April 27.
Standings will start appearing in Monday's paper (and online) along with our first batch of in-season top 20 polls, which will update each week from there.
League representatives are reminded to call the Globe between 1 and 6 p.m. Sunday at 617-929-3235, 2860, 2861, or 2862. Our toll-free number is 1-800-232-2860. Standings can also be faxed to 617-929-2670 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, but please confirm all fax and e-mail transmissions by calling one of the numbers above.
We took in two of Thursday's best games (our plan to catch three was foiled by extra innings in the baseball game). Here's what unfolded:
Baseball: Xaverian vs. Lincoln-Sudbury
Sam Finn singles home Jason Roth in the bottom of the eight as L-S emerges with a 2-1 win.
Roth opened the inning with a single off reliever Matt Morin (pitching on 2-day's rest following a brilliant performance against BC High Monday). Mark Hogan followed with a sacrifice attempt that rolled perfectly down the third-base line allowing him to reach safely while advancing Roth to second.
Finn ripped a single to right and Roth raced home ahead of the throw for the victory.
Tied, 1-1 (bot 6th)
Mark Hogan hit a solo homer to tie this game moving to the seventh inning.
Xaverian, 1-0 (top 6th)
Welcome to Sudbury, where the visiting Hawks lead host L-S, 1-0, in the top of the sixth.
Xaverian pushed across the game's lone run in the top of the third with a little two-out magic as Matt Morin singled, took second on a wild pitch, then scored on an opposite-field single by Sean Reilly.
Girls' lacrosse: Andover vs. Framingham
A final from Framingham, the Flyers prevail, 13-9.
Tied, 4-4 (half):
The teams head to the intermission knotted at 4. A very entertaining first half. Framingham dominated possession, but the Warriors came up with big defensive stands and cashed in on their opportunities.
We're zipping off to Sudbury now for more action, but we've got a correspondent here who will continue to feed us details so keep an eye on this space for more.
Tied, 4-4 (8:26, 1st)
Framingham bounces back to tie things up with Andover on goals by Sam Zetlin and Rachel Igoe (showing flashes of her sister's speed) as we're knotted at 4 with 8:26 to play in the first half.
Andover, 4-2 (12:00, 1st)
Framingham struck for a pair of free-position goals in the early going, but Andover has responded with four consecutive scores, including two for Heather Sullivan, to open a 4-2 advantage midway through the first half.
Welcome to Framingham, where the third-ranked Flyers girls' lacrosse team is set to host fifth-ranked Andover in a nonleague showdown.
The visiting Warriors check in at 5-0, but should receive their stiffest test of the season against a 7-1 Framingham squad (the Flyers fell to Bay State Conference rival Wellesley, snapping a 52-game winning streak back on April 7).
We're going to alter our plan of attack ever-so slightly today with the idea of getting more games on film. We're going to make it a tripleheader this afternoon and here's what we're hoping to see (in this particular order):
- girls' lacrosse Andover at Framingham
- boys' volleyball Newton North at Lincoln-Sudbury
- baseball Xaverian at Lincoln-Sudbury
Essentially, we're adding a couple of pit stops before getting to the baseball game. With the proximity of all these games, we're hoping to create a highlight reel of some of the day's best action in a variety of sports.
As usual, we'll pass along updates along our way.
The Globe's Amanda Bruno is taking in the Andover-Framingham battle and will have a full recap as part of Thursday's school roundup.
For more details on this afternoon's baseball battle, check out the preview below. Back with more in a bit.
L-S, the reigning Division 1 state champs, has dominated its competition (save only for a one-run victory over Dual County League rival Westford Academy). Its other four opponents have fallen by a combined score of 36-2.
The Warriors posted a 25-1 record last fall while claiming the state crown.
Xaverian endured its first loss Wednesday, letting a potential victory over Catholic Conference rival St. John's Prep slip away in a 5-4 defeat. The Hawks already boast quality wins over St. John's (Shrewsbury), Brockton, and BC High.
Xaverian scraped together a 10-10 regular-season record last spring, but stormed to the Division 1 South semifinals before falling to eventual sectional champion BC High.
We'll have more from Sudbury this afternoon.
We're proud to have an extensive collection of schedules online this spring. You'll find schedules (and, as the season progresses, game results) for most schools in Eastern Mass. for baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis, and volleyball.
Click one of the sports below to jump to that schedules page.
You can also search by school (only spring schedules for Eastern Mass. teams will be available for now):
We will need your help in keeping these schedules/results up to date. While the schedules will update with results that are phoned in each night by coaches, we'll need help chasing down anything that isn't reported directly to us. Anyone can use the email link at the bottom of each school's team page to submit scores or a schedule change.
Scores not sent by coaches or scorekeepers will need to be confirmed by the school before appearing live on the site.
You can find quick links to many of these team schedules in the upper right-hand corner of High School Sports Central.
Again, many schedules might have small errors (duplicate games or wrong start times or mislabeled opponent) as we get this project off the ground, but with your help we'll smooth everything out.
Several reporters and editors contribute updates, news and analysis to the High School Sports Blog.
- Bob Holmes: A Reading resident (Go Rockets!) and Boston College graduate, Holmes is the Boston Globe High School Sports Editor. We remind you now that his weekly picks are often made in jest so everyone just calm down when he picks against Everett for 11 straight weeks. Contact him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHolmes.
- Craig Larson: A native of West Springfield (Leo Durocher anyone? Tim Daggett?) and Curry College graduate (a proud Colonel!), Larson is the sports editor for the Globe's regional sections: South, West and North, as well as a frequent contributor on the college beat. Abington to Xaverian: it all starts with the schools. Have a compelling story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeLars.
- Zuri Berry: Berry attended the same high school as sports legends O.J. Simpson and Joe DiMaggio. (Guess which one is his hero.) He's a South Boston resident (formerly of Eastie) and the editor of the High School Sports blog as well as the go-to-guy for everything high school sports on Boston.com. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @ZuriBerry for all of the latest updates.
Then there are our winter correspondents:
- Alex Hall | @AlexKHall | Baseball
- Colleen Casey | @ColleenCasey226 | Softball
- Mike Giesta | Boys lacrosse
- Catherine Calsolaro | @catrenee13 | Girls lacrosse
- Liz Torres | @etorres446 | Boys volleyball
To reach the high school sports department, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Waiting for Twitter...