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Haverhill Hillies Boys Volleyball '11

Haverhill loses 5-game heartbreaker

HUDSON — Haverhill came close. So very, very close.
After an emotional comeback from a late three-point deficit in the fourth game behind Tommy Oliveira and Zach Sindoni, tying the match, the Hillies rode that momentum and James Murray’s solid serving to a 5-0 lead in the deciding game against perennial power Lincoln-Sudbury in front of a raucous crowd last night at Hudson High School.
But the poise and experience befitting a team that has been in the state finals three of the last four years made a difference against a young Hillie squad playing for its first-ever state title.
A key adjustment by head coach Bunny McClung empowered Ned Donaldson and Thomas Houpt at the net, turning the tide as the Central sectional champion Warriors sprinted to an emotional 17-15 victory over the North’s top squad for the state title.
In the decisive final game, Murray (eight kills and an ace) got the Hillies rolling, and when Lincoln-Sudbury closed within a point at 10-9, Drew Caruso turned an athletic dig into a netside tip for a winner, and Sindoni’s kill stretched the gap to 13-10.
“Haverhill blocked us very well,” McClung said of the efforts of Oliveira (61⁄2 blocks), Caruso (four blocks), Brett Pettis and Murray on the front line. “I thought our fast offense (with low front-line sets) would work better, and that’s why we had to make an adjustment.”
“I just did my best and it definitely worked,” Oliveira said. “I did my best to anticipate the ball as best I could and to get to it whenever I saw it come to the net.”
“Tommy’s come a long way,” Hillie head coach Bill Kaste said of his sophomore middle hitter. “The tournament is where he really shined. He did so much more in the tournament.”
Two points away from losing the title, the Warriors chose to work its offense to the outside. Donaldson (12 kills, four coming in the fifth game) and Houpt (11 kills) had alleys that weren’t clear earlier in the evening and took full advantage. Houpt spiked home a pair of sets to give L-S its first lead of game five, then saw a Haverhill kill attempt sail wide right to send the Warrior faithful into a frenzy.
“Their right-side hitter hit well, their middles hit well,” Hillie head coach Bill Kaste said. “They’re a full team. They’re not the state champs for nothing.”
The closing rush capped a night of comebacks. Haverhill’s four-point lead in the opening game was erased by libero Matthew Joyner’s serving while Oliveira and Andrew Alves (21 digs and four assists) helped repel L-S’s game-two rebound.
The biggest turnaround came in game four as Haverhill faced down five-point deficits at four different points, the latest coming at 18-13. But spurred on by the teamwork of Pettis (13 kills, two blocks and two aces), Murray and Caruso, the Hillies tied the score. And when Oliveira and Sindoni faced down 7-footer John Swords for the block that won the game, a fitting stage was set for the winner-take-all game that followed.
Of the ultimate deciding factor last night, McClung said, “Being in that situation before can only help. Our players are strong, determined, talented and our chemistry is good. We weren’t going to let it go.”
In Kaste’s opinion, “Lincoln-Sudbury passed a little better than us, found the court hitting a little better than us, and we just had a hard time being as consistent as we needed to be.
“When we wake up (today), we’ll be a lot happier than when we went to bed (last night). We had a great season, had great effort, and we brought a lot of spirit back to Haverhill High School. They did something no other volleyball team did and they should be proud of themselves.”
Lincoln/Sudbury 3, Haverhill 2
Mass. state championship
at Hudson High School
Kills: L-S — Ned Donaldson 12, Thomas Houpt 11, John Swords 9; H — Brett Pettis 13, Tom Oliveira 10, Drew Caruso 10
Blocks: L-S — Swords 4; H — Oliveira 61⁄2, Caruso 4
Assists: L-S — William Shimkus 22, Devin Patel 15; H — Zach Sindoni 36
Aces: L-S — Donaldson 2; H — Pettis 2
Digs: L-S — Houpt 20; H — Andrew Alves 21, Sindoni 17
Haverhill (21-2):    20 25 16 27 15 — 2
Lincoln/Sudbury (20-1):    25 18 25 25 17 — 3

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Boys Volleyball, 06/14/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Clutch Haverhill heads for title game

CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. Haverhill students and fans rush the floor to celebrate with the volleyball team including captain, Brett Pettis (center) and Dylan Copeland (8) after the Hillies defeated Newton North 3 set to 2 in the state semi-finals Thursday night. 6/9/2011. 30 Photos

CAMBRIDGE — The Haverhill volleyball team’s magical journey through the playoffs has one more leg to travel. One week after claiming the 15th-year program’s first North Division championship, the Hillies now have a chance for an even loftier title. Last night the Hillies squeezed out a state semifinal victory in five sets over South champ and perennial contender Newton North last night at Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School. Haverhill (21-1) takes on Lincoln-Sudbury (20-1) in the state finals at 7 p.m. Monday at Hudson High. L-S won the 2009 state title and was runner-up in 2008. “Our goal was the North finals (which Haverhill claimed with a 3-1 victory over Lawrence) because we’d been there before but could never cross that hurdle,” Hillies coach Bill Kaste said. “We did that last week, so now, it’s all new for us. But at this point, we’re just playing them one game at a time.” The season’s biggest game was last night’s fifth. The Hillies, who won 16 of their first 21 matches in straight sets, were coming off two disappointing defeats to the Tigers (17-3) and trailed 8-5 in the finale. It was the fifth time this season and second time in the postseason Haverhill was taken to five games. “We’ve been there before,” Kaste said. “Sometimes we win them and sometimes we lose them. What I told them before coming in here was we want to go out of this gym playing as hard as we can, leaving it all on the court and not having any second thoughts. ... Win or lose go off this court proud of your effort.” The Hillies responded by winning six of the game’s next seven points with James Murray providing two kills and Brett Pettis and Drew Caruso one each. Newton North helped out with a couple hitting errors. The Tigers answered to knot things at 11, but they made three more unforced errors before Tom Oliveira finished it off with a winning block. “We hit our middles more, and I think Tommy and Drew really stepped up in that area,” said Pettis, who led the team with 18 kills, 21 digs and two service aces. “We also had to get better passes and we did.” Haverhill won the first two games 27-25 and 25-20, but Newton North appeared to grab complete control with a pair of victories in game three (25-12) and four (25-21). “They changed their blocking, and it fooled us for two sets,” said Pettis, who had his nose bloodied during warm-ups. “They adjusted to what we were doing, and we just couldn’t figure out how to adjust back. They were figuring out where we were hitting and blocking it.” What the Hillies have figured out this year is how to close out matches in the postseason. And they’re doing it all in uncharted territory. “I knew we were going to make the North finals,” Pettis said. “Winning it was completely different. That was a great bonus, and so is this.”

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Boys Volleyball, 06/09/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Hillies down Lawrence to grab North crown

CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. Haverhill's Alex Hoopes (3) hugs teammate Zach Sindoni as the team celebrates. Haverhill defeated Lawrence in the MIAA Boys' Volleyball North Tournament Final Thursday night. 6/2/2011. 23 Photos

LAWRENCE — When he winds up at the net, the powerful hits of Haverhill senior Brett Pettis could end up anywhere on the court.
But, when Pettis sums up his emotions, he’s pretty straightforward.
“This is a first,” exulted Pettis after the No. 1-seed Hillies disposed of Lawrence 3-1 in the North boys volleyball championship last night at Central Catholic.
The victory was not only the first sectional crown for the Haverhill boys, but the first sectional crown for a Haverhill boys team in recent memory.
“It’s a big accomplishment for the volleyball program, but it’s also fantastic to represent Haverhill High School like this,” said junior Drew Caruso, who had nine kills and five blocks on the night. “We haven’t had a lot of success this year at Haverhill (in other sports) so we’re pretty proud of this.”
The Merrimack Valley Conference-champion Hillies (20-1), who will face South champion Newton North (17-2) in the state semifinals Thursday, had good reason to feel proud because they needed to hold back a strong Lawrence team (20-3), whose only losses came against the Hillies.
In the first game, the Hillies looked like they might sweep Lawrence for the second time this spring, riding the strong serving of James Murray and strong all-around play at the net to a resounding 25-15 win.
But Lawrence, behind some powerful hits by Joel Rodriguez and Jose Vargas and the strong jump serving of Jesus Reyes, got its act together in the second game. Trailing 15-12, the Lancers went on a 13-5 run to prevail 25-20.
The third game proved to be pivotal. Lawrence seemed to have the momentum and led 20-15. But the Hillies got kills down the stretch from Murray, Pettis and Zach Sindoni to rally for a 26-24 win that set up the clincher.
Lawrence took a 10-7 lead in the fifth game, but unsung sophomore Tom Oliveira had a kill and two blocks to key an 8-2 run, making it 15-12. Pettis (match-high 18 kills) and Caruso combined for five kills from that point and Sindoni had two deceiving “dumps” to close out a 25-20 victory for the crown.
“I felt we just survived in the third set and then we finished strong, which is important,” said Kaste. “This is awesome for the kids. They worked hard and deserve this. I’m really happy for them.”
Lawrence, which still enjoyed a fine season, got an impressive 10 kills and 11 blocks from Rodriguez and a stunning six aces among 19 service points from Reyes, who just recently started using a jump serve.
Lawrence coach Tony Hajjar had no complaints with his squad and graciously gave credit to the Hillies.
“Haverhill is the better team no matter what,” said Hajjar. “We gave them our best, but they were better. Pettis is tremendous, but they’ve got other good players to go with him.”

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Boys Volleyball, 06/03/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Haverhill prevails in five games

The No. 1 seeded Haverhill boys volleyball team prevailed 3-2 over MVC foe and No. 12 seed Andover in the semifinals of the  Division 1 North volleyball tournament.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/26/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Hillies advance

CARL RUSSO/Staff photo. GAZETTE. The Haverhill School High volleyball team defeated Chelmsford in tournament action Monday night. Haverhill's, James Murray spikes the ball. 5/23/2011. 8 Photos

 

 

Haverhill's No. 1-seed boys volleyball team won its first test, whipping Chelmsford in three games. 25-22, 25-14, 25-12 to adnace to the Division 1 North semifinals against the Andover-St. John's Prep winner. Brett Pettis led the Hillies (18-1) with nine kills, 10 digs and four servicre aces.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/23/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Unbeaten no more

 

Haverhill's undefeated run looked to be healthy when the Hillies grabbed games 1 and 2 on Central Catholic. But Jimmy Zenevitch and Co. were just warming up. The Raiders stormed to a 25-19 win in Game 3 to seize momentum and finished the comeback, 16-14 in the fifth. Ryan Barbera dished out a career high 42 assists in the win, as Zenevitch and Sean Davis combined for 29 kills up front.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/12/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Unbeaten no more

 

Haverhill's undefeated run looked to be healthy when the Hillies grabbed games 1 and 2 on Central Catholic. But Jimmy Zenevitch and Co. were just warming up. The Raiders stormed to a 25-19 win in Game 3 to seize momentum and finished the comeback, 16-14 in the fifth. Ryan Barbera dished out a career high 42 assists in the win, as Zenevitch and Sean Davis combined for 29 kills up front.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/12/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Unbeaten no more

 

Haverhill's undefeated run looked to be healthy when the Hillies grabbed games 1 and 2 on Central Catholic. But Jimmy Zenevitch and Co. were just warming up. The Raiders stormed to a 25-19 win in Game 3 to seize momentum and finished the comeback, 16-14 in the fifth. Ryan Barbera dished out a career high 42 assists in the win, as Zenevitch and Sean Davis combined for 29 kills up front.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/12/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Still unbeaten

 

Haverhill's volleyball team remained unbeaten (15-0) with a sweep of Methuen. Brett Pettis had 11 kills and four aces for the Hillies and Zach Sindoni had seven kills and 31 assists.

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Boys Volleyball, 05/09/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Season sweep

 

Haverhill's unbeaten (11-0) boys volleyball team swept Lawrence for the first time in recent memory , prevailing by scores of 27-25, 25-13 and 26-24. Brett Pettis led the way at the net with 12 kills while Drew Caruso added nine. Lawrence dropped to 11-2, with both losses coming to the Hillies.

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Boys Volleyball, 04/29/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars
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