By Matt Taylor, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – The Marlborough High School girls volleyball team is in the middle of another outstanding season, sporting an 11-0 record after soundly beating Millis Oct. 11. Coach Peter Lepore and his captains spoke about their goals and the challenges they face as they prepared for league rival and power Westborough at practice.
The veteran coach of 27 years and more than 800 wins between girls and boys volleyball and girls basketball reflected on the play of his team, starting with his four co-captains. Senior outside hitter Melissa Scott returned this year after receiving All-State honors last year.
“Melissa is our defensive ace,” he said. “Defense still wins games in this sport, and Melissa is among the very best.”
Senior Alexa Fearing and Co-Captain Laura Silverman have developed into two of the most powerful hitters in the state.
“If Laura or Alexa are given a good set, they'sl almost certainly put it away.”
Nobody sets up Marlborough's powerful hitters better than Taylor Fearing.
“She's the best setter in the game,” Lepore said.
The captains talked about their goals for the season and beyond as they prepared for a difficult opponent.
“We'se confident,” Silverman said. “But we'se not cocky. There are a lot of great teams out there, but if we play our game, we know we'se going to be tough to beat.”
Fearing talked about the need to play a great all-around game to beat teams like Westborough.
“We can always improve our overall game,” she said. “As long as we keep a level head and do what's worked for us, we'sl be successful.”
Scott stressed improving fundamentals such as serving and proper coverage, but she also talked about the importance of leadership.
“It's important to involve everybody in practice. Our younger teammates will be taking over the team, so it's important to create an atmosphere of success,” she said.
Even with their individual and team success on the volleyball court, academics remain the top priority for these high school seniors.
“Our studies come first,” Silverman said. “I would like to play at the next level, but school is top priority. That's the case with all of us.”
Fearing was running late to practice on this day due to a meeting of the National Honor Society.
Lepore stressed that there are many factors that have contributed to the Panthers” undefeated season so far.
“Juniors Selena Giroux and Vanessa Pascal are really coming into their own,” he said. “Selena is a great hitter, and Vanessa has become a defensive stalwart for us.”
He also mentioned the stellar play of Taynera Fonseca on defense and the reliable service game of junior Kara Sweeney.
As with most successful coaches, Lepore loves what he does, and has no plans to end his successful run anytime soon.
“It's so much fun to watch kids give everything they have diving for the ball and hustling all over the court. There's nothing like it.”
He credited his players for the team's success, but the 1970 graduate of Marlborough High School has an unwavering loyalty to his alma mater, and that has translated into a lot of wins for this successful program.