The Barnstable girls’ volleyball team entered Saturday’s Division 1 final undefeated. The Red Raiders had won all 69 sets this season. Defending champion Newton North didn’t seem to care.
The Tigers jumped on Barnstable from the start, taking the first two sets before holding off a final rally in the fourth for a 25-21, 25-17, 20-25, 27-25 victory at Worcester State to repeat as state champion.
“I’m so happy that we won,” said Newton North coach Richard Barton. “It was a terrific, terrific match. Sometimes you go to any sport in the state finals and you shrug, but sometimes you just hit the jackpot, as a coach or as a spectator. I think today was very cool in it showed one of the highest level state finals that’s ever been . . . We weren’t supposed to win this. Or so they said.”
Ashley Wang was once again dominant, finishing with 19 kills and 11 assists. Fellow seniors Chelsea Simmons (20 assists, 4 kills, 3 blocks) and Erin Carey (8 kills) were also big as the Tigers (17-2) used late runs of 6-0 and 7-0 to take the first two sets.
“That was what we’ve been planning for the entire season,” said Wang. “We knew at the beginning of the season that we’d be at this point and taking the first set was such a big thing. It set the momentum for the rest of the game.”
The Red Raiders (23-1) put up a strong response, winning 19 of the last 26 points in the third set to force a fourth frame. Riley James (29 kills, 13 digs), Ingrid Murphy (18 kills, 29 digs), and Teagan James (50 assists, 7 digs, 5 kills) were all instrumental in the comeback effort.
Wang and the Tigers proved too much down the stretch, however, staving off two set points for Barnstable before claiming the win.
Bourne 3, Whitinsville Christian 1 — Bourne coach Andy Mather had just gotten a Facebook notification with pictures reminding him of his team’s four-set loss to Frontier in the Division 3 final last November.
With a revenge win over Frontier already secured in the state semifinals, Mather and the Canalmen put those old memories in the rearview mirror, finishing off a dominant season with a 3-1 victory over Whitinsville Christian, 25-22, 25-21, 23-25, 25-18, to win the Division 3 title at Worcester State.
“This ambiance is a little bit overwhelming,” said Mather, referring to the large cheering crowd. “We weren’t overwhelmed by the ambiance . . . I think they were overwhelmed by this.”
The experienced Canalmen (27-1) relied on four seniors to get the win. Kameryn McAnaugh (18 kills), Mattie Stuck (34 digs), and Sara Sullivan (42 assists, 4 aces) were instrumental as Bourne stormed out to a 2-0 lead while the Crusaders (24-2) worked on slowing Emma Fenton (14 kills) at the net.
Whitinsville Christian wouldn’t go quietly, storming back to take a third set that included 11 lead changes.
Christina Leduc (17 kills) and Emily Schneider (10 kills, 3 blocks) provided key kills to keep the Crusaders alive.
With Bourne looking to close the door, Fenton stepped up. The 6-foot-3-inch senior picked up seven of her 14 kills in the fourth set to help propel the Canalmen to their first state title since 2000.
“I just really decided to turn it on,” said Fenton. “I think we kind of got complacent in the third set, which is kind of what cost us the set. The fourth game, we realized we don’t want to go to five, we want to get this over with. This is our game.”
Dan McLoone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.