Andover Golden Warriors Girls Volleyball '14

Sun, Nov 09, 2014 04:00 PM @ Neutral Location
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Andover 21 25 25 25 3
North Andover 25 23 19 17 1

Andover takes rubber match with rival Knights, wins North title again

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Sunday, November, 09 By Hector Longo

TEWKSBURY – The worst-kept secret in Division 1 North volleyball?


North Andover High's stock continues to rise.


But that doesn't mean Andover High is about to step aside and let the Knights take over.


“No definitely not, never giving it up,” Warrior Wyllie Boughton pronounced with an ear-to-ear grin. “(Coach Jane Bergen) just told us whoever wants it more will win. We just wanted it more.”


Boughton and the Warriors had plenty of reason to smile, rolling past the gritty Knights, 3-1, to claim their third straight Division 1 North championship.


Wednesday night (7 p.m.) at Canton High, Andover, now 21-1, will take on Natick in the state semifinals.


“I think they're the team to beat, they have what it takes to win it all,” said North Andover coach Veronica Schaefer, whose club through quite a scare into the Warriors before falling.


The Knights, who had split the two regular-season meetings with Andover, sprinted to victory in the first set then sent a jolt to the Andover side when rallying from 17-4 down in the second to knot things at 22-22.


It was there that the Warriors' toughness, skill and experience again proved to be the difference.


“We've been the comeback kids. They're extremely resilient, and I'm just so proud of them,” said Andover's Bergen. “That's a matter of confidence and mental toughness.”


Junior Maddy Reppucci's monster block at the net, stopped the Knights in their tracks. After the teams split points to make it 24-23 Andover, it was Boughton refusing to take know for an answer as she willed the ball over in a scramble to clinch it and even things at 1-1.


North Andover, emotionally, took a beating at that point.


“I thought it was ours, I thought that game was ours. It was a huge difference (in the match),” said Knights coach Veronica Schaefer. “We got the momentum, digging ourselves out, for it not to end with us, was crushing going into game 3.”


But the Knights fought every step of the way.


Down 17-11 in the third, freshman Julia Karim served North Andover back into the match at 17-16.


Reppucci again used that moment again to show off her penchant for the clutch.


A booming kill, followed by an unrelenting block pushed the Warriors ahead for good at 22-17, and co-captain Mackenzie Kennedy closed it out in style with an ace for 25-19.


With Colleen Mullins working the service line brilliantly, Andover blitzed to a 17-6 advantage in the fourth. One final Knights' flurry behind some heavy hits by Catherine Flaherty tightened things up at 20-16.


Again, it was the Warrior front-line taking charge, though.


Reppucci and sophomore Julia McBride finished the job as the Warriors finished with a 25-17 final to earn the trip south on Wednesday.


For the Knights, it was a lesson and another step closer.


Flaherty was everywhere up front, especially early with her power game.


The first ended fittingly, served out by North Andover libero Jillian Boyle. The junior left marks all over the Tewksbury High floor, saving rally after rally with some unfathomable defense.


“I'm kind of sick of being the underdog. I think we are equal,” said
Schaefer, whose club ends up at 18-4. “And I think people continue, in the press and even in the league, to keep us second, unfortunately.”


Don't expect the Knights to go anywhere but up anytime soon.


“Both Flaherty and Boyle are juniors, and that's a good thing,” said Schaefer.

Game Statistics:

Division 1 North Final 

Kills: A — Maddy Repucci15

Blocks: A — Reppucci 8

Assists: A — Azita Bakhtyari 39

Service points (aces): A — Mackenzie Kennedy 15 (Colleen Mullins 3)

Digs: A — Jesse Nason 19

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