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Milford Volleyball Falls in State Final

Throughout the season, Milford High's volleyball team rolled to win after win against some of the state's toughest competition. Having played in the Hall of Fame Tournament the Rhode Island Invitational, MHS had seen just about every powerhouse in Eastern Mass. Of those teams, Scarlet Hawks head coach Linda Zacchilli thought the most dangerous was Cambridge Rindge & Latin, which ended up on the other side of the net in the state title match.
"I felt Cambridge was the most explosive team I saw all year, but not always the most consistent," she said. "But I knew if they got some consistency, they could be tough to beat."
She found out just how tough after Cambridge beat her previously unbeaten squad 3-2 to claim the state championship. "It was a tough match, and a disappointing finish," said Zacchilli. "I'm proud of the way the kids handled the whole thing, we were down, but they fought back to tie it."
Playing in front of a sea of red, the product of a student bus, a fan bus, and many others who made the drive from Milford to Wellesley, Milford dropped the first two games 25-20 and 25-21. Facing a sweep, the Scarlet Hawks battled back to win game three 25-23, and needed extra points to pick up a 27-25 game four win. In the fifth and deciding game, Cambridge had the last of a number of lead changes go in its favor and won 15-12.
"We were not great from the service line, and they were more consistent and didn't make the hitting errors they normally make," said Zacchilli. "They outplayed us, we just didn't bring our best offensively to the court and got blocked quite a bit."
Milford spread out its attack with Kane Wittorff, Alex Wasik, and Dan Seaver all registering double-digit kills. Wasik faced two and three blockers throughout the match, as the bigger Cambridge front worked to neutralize Milford's offensive threats. "We didn't always make the right decisions on the court and it cost us," said Zacchilli. "When you're facing three kids at the net who are 6'7", 6'6" and 6'8" it makes for some tough rotations."
Milford finished the season 22-1 with its first state championship slipping through its grasp. Even so, the Scarlet Hawks' season was impressive. They lost just four games before the title match, winning 3-2 over Needham and Algonquin. Every other match this season was a 3-0 win, including a sweep of Lincoln-Sudbury in the district title match and Newton North in the state semi-finals. Zacchilli has no problem calling this team the strongest in her Hall of Fame career.
"This team could have won a state championship, but what sets them apart is their mental toughness and their work ethic, this team had all of that," she said. "They got together in the off-season and played together to get ready, they made the sacrifices and the commitment they needed to make. This is the best team I have ever coached. I am very, very proud of their accomplishments, and they should be proud as well."




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