BRIDGEWATER — For just a few minutes in the Division 1 state semifinals Wednesday, Barnstable’s road to a fourth straight state volleyball title looked like it hit a speed bump.
After the Red Raiders cruised in the first set, Andover took the first 5 points of the second and built a 7-2 advantage, creating a wave of momentum to the Golden Warriors’ side.
But senior Hannah Andres and her teammates had been in this situation too many times to panic, and that didn’t change this time. Top-seeded Barnstable fought back to take the set, 25-21, and the match, 3-0, to advance to the state final.
“We knew we had to pick it up, but nobody was panicking,” Andres said of the second set. “We just had to clean it up a little.”
Coach Tom Turco said the Raiders’ ability to bounce back is a testament to their experience.
“They’re never flustered, they’re never frustrated,” Turco said. “And that’s what you need.”
Andres led the way with 10 kills and 12 digs, while senior Stephanie Martin had 19 digs and junior Nicole Derosier added 14 digs.
The Red Raiders controlled the first set, 25-16, but were forced to make an adjustment. Barnstable had trouble hitting along the lines because the Andover defense had no trouble digging along the perimeter.
So, Andres and the Red Raiders kept the Golden Warriors honest with shorter kills, dropping the ball just over the net, to draw the defense forward to help open the lines.
“We kept hitting line, it’s like digging in a digging line. That’s easy,” Turco said. “So in order to change that, we had to drop the ball in front of the attack line and hope they would change their defense a little bit.”
The adjustment worked, as Barnstable took the second set.
Andover led the third set, 7-4, but the Red Raiders reeled off 8 straight points to take back control to win the final set, 25-16.
Andover senior Chelsea Hu had eight kills in the loss and sophomore Madelyn Reppucci chipped in with eight blocks and six kills.
Even after winning three state titles before, Andres said the drive for the fourth has the same emotions.
“After being around a team that wins so much, you kind of every year just want more,” she said. “Everyone wants it and it’s a great experience.”