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Milford Volleyball Sets State Title Aspirations

Andrew Mainini is a fan of taking a volleyball season one game at a time, but the Milford head coach would be disingenuous if he did not recognize his 12-1 squad has the potential to be one of the best — or even the best — in the state by the time the season comes to an end.
"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but from my experience, if we don't start thinking we have the potential to go all the way, when we get there and realize we could do it, it might be too late," Mainini said. "We have to have an honest conversation about having really lofty goals based on the experience and the talent we have."
The Scarlet Hawks have backed up their goals with actions. MHS posted a 12-1 record through the first 13 matches of the regular season and scored a win over Western Massachusetts powerhouse Agawam. "Almost every year they are in the district final," Mainini said. "We have a good history with them because we played them in the state final in 2013, so there is always a rivalry when we get together to play."
Milford also finished third out of 25 teams at the Rhody Tournament in Rhode Island, falling behind only Newton North and Greater New Bedford in a field that included teams from Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey. The Hawks lost to Newton, the eventual champion by three points in a closely
contested 25-22 semifinal set.
"We felt good about it," Mainini said. "We wish we'd
advanced past that round, but finishing third out of 25 is a good day."
Milford made a change that has lifted the team's attack. Zach Browne is now playing in the back row and is able to add "firepower," his coach said, to support the three hitters at the net. Joao Boaventura continues to be a steady offensive force and setter Josh Orellana has quarterbacked the team from his position. "He has been making some crazy sets, taking bad
or tough passes and turning them into perfect sets," Mainini said. "He's been able to keep our offense in system and has been a huge difference-maker."
The Scarlet Hawks have a number of challenging matches left in the regular season, but two standout as potential bellwethers for Milford's postseason success. Next Thursday, the Hawks host the two-time defending district champions from Natick in a matchup Mainini said "will give us a view of how feasible winning Central Mass. is."
MHS closes the year with Lawrence over Memorial Day weekend.
"They have a real strong program and are a big contender to win the district in the North," Mainini said. "If we win the Central and they win the North, we would be matched up against each other in the state semifinal, so this could be a playoff preview."




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