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Agawam defeats Milford for boys’ volleyball title

WELLESLEY — Agawam’s Sawyer Frederick could not have ended his high school career year on a higher note.

The senior pounded down the winning spike in a 3-1 victory over Milford for Agawam’s first state boys’ volleyball championship Wednesday night at Babson College (21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23).

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“Oh my gosh it’s unbelievable. I feel so great. My team earned it for me,” said Frederick.

“There are always those points in the game [where you think you could lose], but the important thing is we find momentum,” he said.

The Brownies (22-2) are the third Western Mass. team to win a state title in the last 10 years, along with Minnechaug Regional and Chicopee Comp, after two consecutive state final appearances.

“We couldn’t stop Frederick, it was unbelievable. We didn’t have any answers,” said Milford coach Linda Zacchilli.

Milford, a repeat state finalist, ends the season at 21-2 after a 13-game winning streak.

“It was easy to motivate them because they set their goals for the big prize at the end and all you had to do was remind them. We were just outplayed. We were beat today, by a better team on the other side of the net,” said Zacchilli.

Milford’s 5-point run was ended short in the fourth set when Frederick found the ball as he tied it at 21 and led the Brownies with a spike for a 24-22 lead.

“When we gave them an easy ball to set up we struggled,” said Zacchilli.

Despite stellar performances from Milford’s Michael Antonellis and Tim MacMannis, the third set finished with J. Bailey Cecchi drilling in a spike for a 25-21 win.

“My setter [Tim] is a phenomenal leader and the kids’ passion to win was always there,” said Zacchilli.

The Brownies located cracks in Milford’s defense in the second set, unleashing Cecchi, who punched in three spikes to extend an 11-7 lead. Milford’s Adam Zouranjian and MacMannis used tips to reduce Agawam’s lead, 13-11. A hit by Zouranjian handed Milford its first lead of the set, 17-16, but after a point-for-point battle, Agawam’s Patrick Curry and Frederick made all the difference, 24-21. A Milford error decided the set, 25-21.

Antonellis kept Milford afloat in the first set with three kills that handed the squad a 15-13 lead. Antonellis tipped for 20-15 and MacMannis chipped in one by faking a tip. Despite Antonellis’s hit and tip that set up game point, 24-17, Agawam’s Benjamin Cassidy and Frederick weren’t ready to let go just yet. Milford’s Michael Soares pounded down a kill to end the set, 25-21.

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