Central Catholic Raiders Girls Volleyball '11

Central rallies from down 2 games to win state semifinal thriller

Click to read story38 Photos

BILLERICA — Thanks to a remarkable comeback in last night’s Division 1 state volleyball semifinals, Central Catholic senior Alex Borrelli was feeling a delightful sense of deja vu.
“This is awesome, the greatest feeling ever,” said Borrelli. “I went to the state finals in basketball as a freshman and this is the same kind of feeling.”
It was a new feeling for most of the rest of the Raiders (21-2), but they were feeling just as good after they rallied from a two-game hole to defeat perennial power Lincoln-Sudbury, 3-2.
As a result, Central Catholic advances to Saturday’s 5 p.m. state finals at Algonquin High School against the winner of tonight’s Brookline-Barnstable matchup. Barnstable is the defending Division 1 state champ.
Early on last night, it looked unlikely that Central would punch a ticket to the finals. It dropped the first game 25-22 and didn’t look particularly good in the loss, serving four balls into the net and making a rash of unforced errors.
“I guess we were a little flat, but I thought we played more of our game after that,” said Borrelli, who led Central with 19 kills on the night.
Actually, the Raiders didn’t look much better early in the second game, either, trailing 10-6 before finally gaining some momentum. Borrelli started to heat up and senior Hunter Tuck (18 kills) got into a rhythm. Central eventually lost a donnybrook, 33-31, but that may have helped turn the corner.
“Even though we didn’t win that game, I thought it gave us the confidence to stick with what we do well,” said Central coach Gannon Paris. “The kids did a great job of sticking together when it didn’t look too good for us.
“In the first game, we were trying to do a little too much, hit too hard, try to be too cute. This is as big as anything as these girls have been involved with and it was kind of a new experience for them. Alexis (Michal) is the only one who was with us as a freshman. But after we broke it down and went back to playing like we can, we were all right.”
In fact, the Raiders seemed to get better the longer the match went on. While Borrelli was fairly consistent throughout, Tuck, Stephanie Graffeo (13 kills) and sophomore Amanda Williams got more involved with every point, leading to a 25-21 survival victory in the third game and a convincing 25-19 triumph in the fourth game, which Tuck closed out with a pair of kills.
The deciding fifth game was tension-filled and back and forth. But, trailing 12-11, the Raiders tied it on a Borrelli kill and then forced three Lincoln-Sudbury errors to grab the 15-12 victory and start looking ahead to Saturday.
Playing a large role in the triumph was Michal, who had an astounding 56 assists, a number that Paris believes “must be a school record,” as well as serving 13 points. Michelle Bouchard was also a force from the back line with four aces among her 13 points and Britni Spring placed superb defense and contributed several key service points as well.
“I can’t say enough about the whole team,” said Paris. “It’s a collective effort. We’re going to enjoy this.”
For Lincoln-Sudbury (19-3), junior Mandy Sifferlen was a force at the net as was Kelly White, one of only two seniors on the team. The Warriors had graduated six seniors from last year’s 22-2 squad that was the fourth L-S team in five years to reach the state finals.
“Central was the better team tonight, but we’ll be back,” said Lincoln-Sudbury coach Judy Katalina.

Central Catholic 3, Lincoln-Sudbury 2
Division 1 semifinals
at Billerica High
Kills: CC — Alex Borrelli 19, Hunter Tuck 18, Stephanie Graffeo 13; L-S — Mandy Sifferlen 18
Blocks: CC — Amanda Williams 4
Assists: CC — Alexis Michal 56
Service points (aces): CC — Michal 13, Michelle Bouchard 13 (4)
Digs: CC — Michelle Bouchard 30
Lincoln/Sudbury (19-3): 25 33 21 19 12 — 2
Central Catholic (21-2): 22 31 25 25 15 — 3

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 11/20/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central drops volleyball title to Barnstable

NORTHBOROUGH — For the third time in four years, the Central Catholic girls volleyball team found itself one victory away from a state championship. But once again, the Raiders found the experience anything but charming.

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 11/19/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Central downs Andover for third time

LAWRENCE — In the end, No. 2 was the undisputed No. 1.

Entering the Division 1 North volleyball tournament seeded second despite having beaten top-seeded Andover twice, Central Catholic pulled off the season trifecta. With its straight-set 25-23, 25-17, 18-26 victory last night at Lawrence High School, the Raiders have now won four of its past five North tourneys, including three Division 2 titles from in 2007 and 08.

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 11/12/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Michal leads Central into Division 1 North finals

LAWRENCE — Central setter Alexis Michal was named the co-MVP of the MVC recently because she can do so much — pass, set, play defense, serve well and smash down the occasional kill while also hitting perfectly-placed shots over the net exactly where opposing defense aren’t positioned.
Do-it-all Michal showed up again last night, helping lead the No. 2 seeded Raiders to a 25-11, 25-19, 25-21 sweep over No. 3 seeded Reading High in semifinals of the Division 1 North volleyball tournament.   
“The position we ask her to play, she touches the ball more often than anybody on the team,” Central coach Gannon Paris said about Michal. “If she’s not having a good night that translates into everybody else not being able to (play well). We look good because she puts us in position to do that. She works hard.” 
Michal posted 26 assists, one kill, 12 digs and nine service points, including two aces. She and the Raiders advanced to face No. 1 seed and rival Andover in the Division 1 North final at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Lawrence High School.   
Central already has beaten Andover in both matches the two rival schools have played this season. The Raiders won 3-1 on Oct. 11 and 3-1 on Nov. 3. 
“We’ve had an incredible season,” Michal said. “No one expected us to come this far and beat Andover. To beat Andover again — we’re just going to have to go in fighting our hardest.” 
Michal said she still in a way feels her team is the underdog against Andover despite the two regular-season victories.
“I don’t think they expect us to beat them three times in a row,” Michal said. 
Michal was co-MVP of the MVC along with Andover senior hitter Sarah Arvidson. 
“Setter, passer, hitter, server — she (Michal) is everything, every aspect we need,” said senior Alex Borrelli who added six kills. “Her sets are awesome. Her serving is very key to our team.”  
Michal of Windham transferred to Central after attending Salem High as a freshman. 
When Windham built its own high school, Michal transferred to Central instead of enrolling at Windham where there would be no varsity sports her sophomore year.  
She started out as a defensive player for Central as a sophomore, earning a position in the backrow when the Raiders went to the state final in 2009. But she was moved to setter last year and earned All-MVC honors in her first year playing her new position. 
“She’s had a nice little career here,” Paris said.  
Michelle Bouchard added about Michal: “She’s a great hustler.” 
Bouchard recorded 21 digs and nine service points. Hunter Tuck added 11 kills. 
“I think we have the players and the capability (to beat Andover),” Tuck said. “We’re an improved team since the beginning of the year.” 
Borrelli added: “It’s hard to beat a team three times. But if we go in the same way that we did the first two games, I think we’ve got them.” 
Paris said tomorrow should be a great match. 
“I’ll be anxious from now until then,” he said. 

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 11/10/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders sack Peabody

Central Catholic's volleyball team took care of business last night, bouncing No. 7 Peabody from the Division 1 North tourney in three straight games to set up a home semifinal matchup with third seed Reading tomorrow night.

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 11/08/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Raiders knock Warriors from unbeaten

Click to read story9 Photos



LAWRENCE — For the first time all season, senior standout Hunter Tuck did not lead the Central Catholic volleyball team in kills last night against archrival Andover, finishing with the fourth highest total on the team. Not a good thing, right? Wrong! Showing unusual depth at the net, and all over the court, the Raiders (9-3) handed the previously unbeaten Golden Warriors (9-1) their first regular season loss in two years, 3-1. Andover entered the game without the services of standout senior Ava Bakhtari, who tore her ACL last week, but things evened out quickly when Raider starting middle hitter Mary Foggo turned an ankle early in the first game and was lost for the rest of the evening. “It’s tough to lose one of your best players but we have the players to replace anyone,” said Tuck. “We have a lot of confidence in anyone who comes in.” Replacing Foggo was sophomore Amanda Williams and she responded with seven kills and a team-high four blocks and, along with Alex Borrelli (team-high 14 kills), Steph Graffeo (9 kills) and Tuck (5 kills), gave the Raiders plenty of options up front. Williams looked comfortable from the start and Central stormed to a 25-15 victory in the first game. But Andover rallied in the second game behind underrated junior Elizabeth Wait (team-high 15 kills) and Eagle-Tribune All-Star Sarah Arvidson (13 kills) to tie up the match with a 25-15 win of its own. Central responded in the third game, thanks to five straight service points late in the game by Tuck and two key points by Borrelli, to prevail 25-21, setting up a wild third game that the Raiders — showing some outstanding defense led by junior Michelle Bouchard — eventually pulled out, 30-28, for the victory. “This is just a really big win for us,” said Central coach Gannon Paris. “The MVC title is basically on the line and we want to show that we’re up there with them. They swept us three times and you have to beat them if you want to be considered one of the best. “This was really satisfying. We played well as a team but I can’t say enough about the job Amanda Williams did coming in. I think this team is as deep as any I’ve had and she was a prime example.” Andover coach George Sullivan, while proud of the his team’s effort, said: “Without question, we missed Ava and we’re going to need a couple of more girls step up. We need to be more consistent ... we end the (regular) season with them, so we’ll see how we do then.” Elise Brogan played strong at the net in the final game for Andover and led the team with 3 1/2 blocks. Lauren Murtagh was high in both assists (21) and service points (17).  

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 10/11/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars

Rivalry continues


The Central Catholic-Melrose girls volleyball rivalry continued yesterday with Melrose taking this round 3-1. Central won the first game 25-50 before Melrose rallied to take three straight. Hunter Tuck had 19 kills, three blocks and four aces for the Raiders (8-2).  

Read More »
Girls Volleyball, 10/03/11 » 0 Comments & 0.0 Stars