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Hall of Fame Spotlight: 1989 Milford Boys’ Volleyball

When Linda Zacchilli started the boys' volleyball program in 1985, even she might not have guessed that only four years later, the Scarlet Hawks would find themselves among the best teams in the state. That's exactly what happened with the 1989 MHS squad, as they advanced to the Final Four that season and earned their place in the Hall of Fame. "What has always stood out about that team was that this was the group who started the program as younger players, and three years later they are playing for a state championship," said Zacchilli.
The senior-laden group finished in the top four in the state after rolling through the regular season with 18 wins. Boys' volleyball was consolidated into a single division in 1989, and that meant Milford had to beat much larger schools such as Newton North and South, Weymouth North and South, and Brockton. "The Brockton matches were always big," said Zacchilli. "We played all the huge Eastern Mass schools so it was a very competitive league."
1989 was also the first year in which a true state champion would be crowned in the sport. More than 25 teams competed that season but only the top four would play for the tile. Chris Rudolphi was a senior on that team and said the entire squad was focused on being a part of the Final Four. "That was special for us, we set our sights on that tournament knowing it was going to be the first one," he said. "We wanted to be there and we got there."
In addition to Rudolphi, Milford was led by middle hitter Chris Luke, who was the MVP of the Scarlet Hawks. Jeff Grote was the setter, and Ryan Abraham, Andy Skola and Steve Mantegani all played significant roles. Peter DelVecchio, Craig Jenell, Lenny Smith, Tommy Burns, Eddie White, and Adam Miller rounded out the core group that brought Milford to the state semi-finals.
In the states, Milford ran into a powerhouse Brookline team and had to face them with Luke hampered a bit due to an injury. The Scarlet Hawks lost the best-of-three match. "We were right in that match, it could have gone either way," said Zacchilli. "It was very close and very well played, that match really stands out."
Rudolphi said his teammates and lifelong friends also made that year special.
"We all kind of grew up together, volleyball wise," he said. "Mrs. Zacchilli was a great influence on us and it was a great experience. It's exciting and an honor to be in the Hall of Fame, and to have helped lay the foundation for a program that is still very successful today. It's something we are all pretty proud of."

The Milford High School Hall of Fame committee has announced its class of 2011 inductees. Each issue, the Milford Town Crier will profile one of the members of the class. The induction ceremony will be held on November 13, 2011 at the Myriad Ballroom in Mendon.




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