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Melrose volleyball captures first girls' state title in school history

Posted by Marcia Dick  November 18, 2012 08:56 PM

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At the end of it all, Melrose coach Scott Celli was telling his girls, “It’s like the Olympics,” as they lined up to receive their medals.

Celli’s front row of seniors, Sarah McGowan, Jennifer Cain, and Rachel Johnson, had a combined 33 kills and Melrose won the Division 2 state championship over Longmeadow, 3-1 (25-17, 24-26, 25-19, 25-10).

It's the first state title for a girls' team in Melrose High history, and, according to Mayor Rob Dolan, the first state crown for any Red Raider squad since 1967.

“This was our one dream and one goal that we had to accomplish because we’ve been to this game. We’ve won the Middlesex League, we’ve won Division 2 North, and this was the one thing we couldn’t do,” said McGowan, who had 10 kills, ending her career with 749.

The victory did not come without a challenge. The Red Raiders’ biggest hurdles were Longmeadow’s Amanda Tyler and Jennifer Hurwitz.

Cain (11 kills) propelled the offense in the fourth set, including the final touches with a tip for the final score.

The Red Raiders started in the first set with a double block by seniors Brooke Bell and McGowan. McGowan’s pair of hits and Longmeadow errors settled the set, 25-17.

The second set was a turnaround.

Hurwitz displayed the power behind her swing that ranked her sixth in the state and relied on Tyler to control volleys for a 5-0 lead in the second set and an 18-10 lead.

Johnson (12 kills), Cain and McGowan led a comeback as Bell (26 assists and 1,853 career assists) added the finishing touches with an ace to tie, 24-24. Hurwitz closed the set with a tip and a hit through a double block, 26-24.

For more video of the state championships, go to Boston.com/schools.

Dr. Ron Sen

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