Needham finishes common season undefeated (once more) in volleyball

NEEDHAM – For a third straight season, the Needham boys volleyball workers will head into the Div. 1 state occasion with out a loss.

The 2-time defending champion Rockets used their typical mannequin of well-rounded play Friday evening time to beat one different daunting nonleague foe, topping St. John’s of Shrewsbury 3-0 (25-21, 25-18, 25-20) on the state’s closing day of the frequent season.

Luke Lorence heated up inside the third set on the easiest way to a team-high 12 kills, whereas Ethan McCarron (11 kills) and Raymond Weng (19 assists, 10 kills) moreover carried out foremost offensive roles to struggle an inconsistent nevertheless strong Pioneers effectivity.

It was merely one different day’s work for Needham (22-0), which secured a 68th straight win to steer the title dialog as quickly as as soon as extra. Ending the frequent season unbeaten is manner from the Rockets’ end goal, nevertheless that really doesn’t make it any a lot much less fulfilling for them to maintain up their edge over three completely totally different campaigns.

“It feels nice, it’s an excellent program,” talked about Weng, a starter all by the streak’s entirety. “We labored exhausting every single day at apply, at the very least we tried to. It took numerous psychological power too, simply to not take into consideration the previous and the way that is the season now.”

“We now have an excellent mixture of a proficient senior class and a aggressive junior class, and a few actually good athletes,” added head coach Dave Powell. “We’re proud of the way it’s coming collectively and (specializing in) one second at a time. Simply worrying about our aspect of the online.”

After barely avoiding its first loss since 2019 in the direction of Milford from the day prior, that focus was wished in the direction of a dangerous St. John’s workers that ranked fourth inside the latest set of MIAA Div. 1 power rankings.

Matt Deeley (9 kills, two aces) used a ferocious bounce serve to current the Rockets problem inside the first set, participating in a giant perform in an 8-0 run that grabbed a 14-12 lead. Devin Dellamarggio (12 assists) found McCarron to interrupt up the run. A pair of Weng assists and kills helped gasoline a 12-4 run whereas errors plagued the Pioneers from there, and Needham went on to take the set, 25-21.

That may very well be the one time the Rockets wished to interrupt up a surge of momentum, allowing the Pioneers to a couple straight components just one additional time the rest of the match. St. John’s traded 10 straight components early inside the second set, with Eric Barcelos (5 kills, 4 blocks) and Francis McGonagle (11 kills, three aces) each delivering giant performs. The third set then observed 15 straight components traded to take care of St. John’s in placing distance, trailing merely 16-14.

However in every instances, Needham went on an unlimited run to separate for 25-18 and 25-20 set victories. Jonathan Ochalla was implausible defensively for the Rockets, whereas Alex Gundaker (seven kills) crammed an unlimited perform inside the heart and Lorence belted six of his kills inside the closing set.

“Exterior of the primary set, I believed we have been just a little extra disciplined hitting tonight, we have been just a little extra affected person,” talked about Powell. “All our guys pass-served very effectively. … (St. John’s is) an excellent staff. They’re a strong, dynamic staff.”

Now, Needham dials up its focus as soon as extra in pursuit of a unusual three-peat. Its path may be revealed when brackets are launched on Tuesday.

“It’s a 0-0 file now,” Weng talked about. “One recreation at a time.”