HUDSON — Saturday was a night of redemption for the Milford boys’ volleyball team.
The Hawks’ last loss — and only loss of the regular season — was April 25 to the Lawrence Lancers. Since then Milford had won 12 straight games, but the 13th was special.
In Saturday’s semifinals at Hudson High School, the Hawks were able to get revenge on the Lancers, beating them in five sets to advance to the state championship game for the second consecutive year. Milford lost to Cambridge, 3-2, in last year’s state title game.
After trading the first four sets with Lawrence (25-22, 17-25, 25-15, 22-25), Milford closed it out with a thrilling 15-13 triumph in the final frame.
Lawrence was down by 5 points on several occasions during the final frame.
Anibal Henriquez and Christian Mayi chipped away with dominant hitting to cut the deficit. Christian Taveras came up with a pair of huge blocks to put Lawrence within a point. However, Milford’s Adam Zouranjian scored his team’s final point.
“I was telling my setter to give me the ball,” said Zouranjian, who finished with eight kills. “He finally did and we put it away. That’s just the best feeling.
“When [Lawrence] came into our building and beat us, we didn’t like that very much. We practiced harder and harder every day just to do this, and it paid off.”
Jose Cora and Erik Vega also finished with eight kills each for the Hawks.
The opening set of the match was a back-and-forth contest which set the tempo for the night. Lawrence responded in the second, leading most of the set to even it up. The Hawks bounced back in the third with their most dominant performance to regain the advantage.
For a while in the fourth it seemed like Milford would be able to close it out, but Lawrence showed its grittiness to stay alive.
“They came out swinging until the end of the game and I’m proud of them,” said Lawrence coach Tony Hajjar, whose team came in on a 21 game-winning streak. “Tonight wasn’t our night, but overall it was a great game.”
Saturday was certainly great for Michael Antonellis (23 kills and three blocks) and Michael Soares (17 kills and three blocks).
While the win over Lawrence was a huge accomplishment for Milford, the Hawks have one more obstacle standing between them and their ultimate goal.
“I’ve never won a state championship and I’ve been coaching for over 35 years,” said Hawks’ coach Linda Zacchilli. “To be here again, back-to-back years, with one more opportunity to take home the big prize is fantastic.”
Milford will play Agawam for the state title Wednesday at Babson College at 7 p.m.