By John Orrell, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Success on the hardwood for the Westborough High girls’ volleyball program is anything but a new phenomenon.
In 2002, the Rangers were Central Section winners. They were crowned State Champions in 2007 and more recently, they advanced to the State Championship match in 2013 and dropped a hard-fought decision to Hopkinton in Sectional Finals a year ago. Such accomplishments on a local and statewide level are impressive, but don’t ever think that for players, coaches and team supporters that any of this gets old.
“This was exciting because it was our last game on our home court and that gave us a boost of adrenaline,” said Westborough senior co-captain Kaylie Doherty of her team’s 3-0, Division 2 semifinal victory over visiting fourth-seed Hopkinton High on Nov. 12. “It was great because we had seen them (Hopkinton) last year and they were the ones that knocked us out of the tournament so we were excited to come back and play them again.”
Top-seed Westborough (18-2) advances to the district final game set for Nov. 14 versus third- seed Canton High (17-4) at Hudson High School. First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m.
The Midland champion Rangers executed the sweep, their eleventh shutout of the season, with scores of 25-18, 25-19, 25-20. The Hillers managed to stay neck-and-neck with Westborough before the Rangers ran off runs of 6-1 and 10-4 in the first and second sets, respectively. Westborough never trailed in the third set jumping out to an early 10-3 advantage before dispatching Hopkinton for the victory.
“Hopkinton put a lot of pressure on us early, especially with their serving,” said veteran head coach Roger Anderson. “I felt like they served really tough on us and made things difficult. But I like the way we stayed the course and did the things that we do well. Credit goes to Hopkinton. It’s going to say 3-0 on the scoreboard but that was a slugfest.
“We were over-excited at the very beginning. We over-hit a little bit. We were fired up and I love that and we were able to settle in and do the things we wanted to do.”
Setting the pace for the Rangers was senior co-captain Gianna Scioletti who notched 24 kills and seven blocks on the night with much help from setter Emma Smallcomb who recorded 29 assists. Mary Bush (12 digs) and Doherty (four kills) also were significant contributors.
Another of the match’s highlights was the clutch serving of libero and senior co-captain Julie Hutchinson who chipped in with six aces when needed at critical times. The Hillers were caught off guard on numerous offerings by Hutchinson who takes the skill of serving seriously.
“I practice a lot on serves. It’s definitely an important part of the game,” acknowledged Hutchinson. “If you miss your serve you can lose momentum so I practice at it a lot.
We play for each other and that’s what’s so special about this team. We just root for each other and we’re doing everything for to help the team win.”
Members of the 2015 Westborough High girls varsity volleyball team are Chloe Goebel, Megan Ku, Jaclyn Latimer, Rebecca Arena, Emma Smallcomb, Kristen Steudel, Sarah Bock, Julie Hutchinson, Melissa Sullivan, Erica Ross, Emily Saylor, Mary Bush, Kerry Larkin, Gianna Scioletti, Kaylie Doherty, Haley Brown, Emily Hannan and MaryKate Lehman.