For Norwood coach Lauren Coville, multisport athletes have been instrumental to her team’s success this season.
Nine out of 11 of Coville’s boys’ volleyball players also play basketball and their experience has generated higher jumps and and more aggressive blocks, which has led to a 10-3 record.
“There’s chemistry on the court and good fortune of rolling over from one [sport] season to the next,” said Coville.
Newcomers Pat O’Rourke and Brad McIsaac, who are both over 6 feet tall, have helped to improve the squad’s strong offense, particularly on the jump serve.
“I have a handful of seniors that put in incredible amounts of hard work and dedication. We’re on a pretty good run considering we have seniors who have never played before,” said Coville.
The Mustangs are right behind Bay State Conference frontrunner Needham (9-2) and anticipating a May 13 rematch after a 3-1 loss earlier this season.
Norwood was 12-7 last season, losing in the quarterfinals to Needham.
Coville said the record shows that her dedicated seniors have put in incredible amounts of hard work.
She attributes the programs success to the leadership of senior captains and cousins Bryan and Colin Gearty, who have been the “hustle, communication, driving force and energy of the program,” she said.
Height has also been a big factor with 6-foot-8-inch junior Charlie Crockett and 6-4 senior and Rodney Jean-Marie (a Keene State commit) providing a continuous presence at the net.
“The Bay State [Conference’s] level has raised across the board as a program and we feel really confident and still certainly have a lot we can work on,” she said.
Newton South shares in the success
Newton South improved to 13-1 after avenging its only loss last Friday with a 3-1 win over Wesford.
The Lions delivered a 90.5 serving percentage (25-16, 25-17, 21-25, 25-17) and had a team-31 kills.
“We knew we needed to get a win out of this to keep us in the hunt for the [Dual County] league title and the top seed in the south section,” said South coach Todd Elwell.
The Lions never hit the speed bump Elwell anticipated this season and have delivered high-quality performances against teams such as Milford making the next matchup against defending state champion Cambridge Tuesday one to watch.
“Were excited for our chances against them,’’ Elwell said. “We think we have enough offensive power to side out with them.’’
Games of the week
No. 9 Medfield at No. 7 St. John’s Prep, Monday, 7 p.m. — After falling to Medfield, 3-2, on May 1, the Eagles will get a chance to even the score.
No. 7 St. John’s Prep at No. 2 Milford, Tuesday, 5 p.m. — The Eagles have shown grit against top-ranked teams, even taking down defending state champion Cambridge. Milford’s Tim MacMannis has been one of the keys to the program’s success so all eyes will be on him.
No. 3 Cambridge at No. 10 Newton South, Tuesday, 4:15 p.m. — The Lions’ surge along with Cambridge’s midseason slump makes this one interesting.
No. 10 Newton South at Acton-Boxboro, Fri., 4 p.m. – The Colonials may not be ranked but they did hand defending state champion Cambridge its second loss of the season in straight sets, making them a contender. The Colonials will have to change their game plan against Newton South after falling to them, 3-1, April 29.