Falcons bring down Methuen
DANVERS - The Cambridge Ridge and Latin boys’ volleyball team saw six match points before they were able to convert and take a 36-34 win in the fourth set to defeat Methuen, 3-1, in the North Finals of the boys’ volleyball tournament.
“It means the world, it’s been everything these kids have been fighting for,’’ said Cambridge coach Kelley Leary. “They’ve fought really hard to be here all season and we’ve had our ups and downs and I’m so proud of them.’’
The Falcons ended a magical run for Methuen (15-9), which came into the postseason as the No. 10 seed with an 11-9 record.
“I’m not disappointed in the way our boys played. I’m not disappointed in the way they represented our league,’’ Methuen coach Matt Twomey said. “In the end, we were the last team in our league playing.’’
Cambridge (20-3) took the first set, 25-18. The Falcons won the first point before Methuen went on a four-point run to open up the first lead of the match. Cambridge battled back and tied the set, 8-8, with a huge spike from junior Jalen Penrose after a long rally. That point opened up a 8-2 run for the Falcons, to push the score to 16-10. Methuen couldn’t gain any momentum and Cambridge got into a rhythm to take the first win.
Methuen evened the match, 1-1, with a 25-21 win. With the score tied at eight, the Rangers went on a 7-2 run to make it 15-10, forcing Cambridge to take two quick timeouts. The Rangers ran the score to 19-13, before the Falcons battled back to within 21-19. The Rangers recorded six straight points to take the set.
“These kids just battle, battle, it comes down to a bounce one way, a bounce another way,’’ Twomey said. “We knew we’d have to play a clean game. I thought we played a pretty clean game, we just came out on the losing end of it.’’
The Falcons took a 2-1 lead after winning the third set, 25-21. Methuen quietly racked up points for a 13-8 lead. But the Falcons battled back to tie, 14-14, before going on a tear for the win. Penrose dominated for the Falcons, finishing the game with 29 kills.
“He’s a solid player,’’ Leary said. “I’m proud of him because he’s come a long way with his maturity and he’s a great player.’’
The fourth set was close throughout, with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. The squads needed an extra 12 points to finally finish off the match.
“I was really nervous when [Methuen] kept having the upper hand, but I’m so happy my kids fought through it,’’ Leary said.
Cambridge will face Chicopee Comprehensive in the state semifinals Saturday at Hudson High School at 4 p.m.