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Adam Christianson puts injury out of mind to lead Newton North boys’ volleyball over Winchester in Division 1

NEWTON — Adam Christianson knew he would need to step up this season. On the biggest stage yet, the Newton North junior held nothing back.

Playing through a partially torn labrum in his right shoulder, Christianson came through with 21 kills and three aces to lead the seventh-seeded Tigers to a 25-13, 22-25, 25-15, 25-20 home victory over No. 10 Winchester (16-6) in the second round of the MIAA Division 1 boys’ volleyball tournament.

Christianson says the shoulder he injured in January isn’t 100 percent, but it feels good to be able to pick his spots and let it fly.


“It was really this season, where I really got it,” said Christianson of his hitting. “As I played more, I focused on the little things each time, each rep. That really got me to where I am.”

Sophomore Simon Vardeh added 13 kills for the Tigers (16-6), including three in a 4-0 stretch that turned a 5-6 fourth-set deficit into a 9-6 lead.

“For us, this game was minimizing errors,” Vardeh said. “In the second set, the one we dropped, we made a lot of careless errors, but after that, we had a lot of people step up.”

Newton North hasn’t made it past the second round since 2019, when the team reached the semifinals. Coach Nile Fox, who led the girls’ volleyball team to a championship in the fall, credits hard work in practice for his team’s depth.

“Everybody knows at any moment you could get put into the game. Any moment,” Fox said. “I think that’s what gives us the success we have, because we always have good depth and everyone’s always ready to go in and play.”

Fox said it feels good getting past the round where the team lost last season, but knows next up is a trip up to one of the state’s top teams in No. 2 Lowell.


“I’ve been telling them we’ve got to keep trying to push through,” Fox said. “We’re just trying to keep getting better as much as we can.”

Added Vardeh: “It felt amazing. To push past this round, it’s great for us.”

Division 1 State

Brookline 3, Acton-Boxborough 2 — Freshman Alec Smagula (56 assists, 10 digs), senior Cam Jilek (19 kills, 18 digs), sophomore Kristaps Vaivars (13 kills, six digs), and Amir Tomer (13 digs) willed the No. 11 Warriors (14-6) to a second-round road win in five sets over No. 6 A-B.

Cambridge 3, Lexington 2 — After playing to five sets in the regular season finale, Cambridge and Lexington seemed destined for a postseason rematch. The second-round thriller lived up to the billing.

The eighth-seeded Falcons (15-6) defended home court again, winning 22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 17-15 against ninth-seeded Lexington. After Lexington (14-6) won the first set, Cambridge never trailed in the next two, establishing serious momentum.

But the Minutemen faced elimination twice in the fourth set, down 24-22 and 26-24, and still managed to keep their season alive.

Things were tied in the fifth set all the way through 11-all, and then it was Cambridge’s season on the ropes, trailing 13-11. They battled back, and pushed Lexington to the brink to capture the final set and match.

St. John’s Prep 3, Haverhill 1 — Callum Brown hit .258 and racked up 19 digs, Michael Wagner hit .286, and Tighe Lusk notched six blocks for the fifth-seeded Eagles (13-6) in a second-round triumph.


Division 2 State

O’Bryant 3, Minnechaug 0 — Son Nguyen (40 assists), Nathan Tan (career-high 17 kills), and Jonathan Narsjo (12 assists) led the No. 6 Tigers (18-4) to a second-round victory.

AJ Traub can be reached at