HUDSON – Two volleyball powerhouses met in Hudson on Wednesday night.
Westborough – the reigning MIAA Division 2 champion – was undefeated in the previous two regular seasons. The Rangers entered Wednesday’s match with an impressive 13-1 record this season and showed no signs of slowing down.
Hudson was on the other side of the net. After losing their first match of the season, the Hawks caught fire, starting a 16-game winning streak. Hudson hadn’t lost since Sept. 8 heading into Wednesday’s action.
Both teams were in the middle of extraordinary seasons, but someone had to lose. After two hours of high-intensity play, Westborough eventually pulled out the four-set win.
Hudson, aided by the boisterous and passionate fan section, came out of the gate strong, scoring the match’s first five points. Westborough fought right back – winning the next eight points – but Hudson seemed ready for the challenge. The first set was back-and-forth, but the Hawks pulled away and won the set 25-20.
“They were fired up and the crowd was awesome,” said Westborough Head Coach Roger Anderson. “We made a couple mistakes, and they took advantage of it. Credit to them. I think we settled down after that, we served a little better, put some pressure on them, and that allowed us to be a little more successful.”
Hudson held off Westborough until midway through the second set. The Rangers pulled ahead 12-7, then 20-13, and eventually evened out the match after winning the second set 25-17. The two subsequent sets were all Westborough; the team won the third and fourth sets 25-11 and 25-12. Westborough secured the 3-1 victory over Hudson.
“Our team’s working really hard… We love this kind of a challenge,” said Anderson. “We love being pushed, and I thought our girls responded very nicely tonight. We talk a lot about that it’s not what happens, but what we respond with. We responded pretty well the last three sets.”
A special record for Westborough’s Anderson
One of Westborough’s players made history during the game. Senior captain Quinn Anderson, Head Coach Roger Anderson’s daughter, registered her 1,000th career kill. Quinn and her teammates briefly went over to the Westborough parents’ section of the crowd to commemorate her achievement.
Quinn gave all the credit to her teammates in an interview with the Community Advocate.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve always been surrounded by such great players. This year, Sam [Norman] has been setting me great balls, and I’ve had a great defense behind me that I know I can trust. I’m so glad I got to do it with these people,” she said.
Anderson was named the 2022-23 Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball Player of the Year.
“We never had a kid hit 1,000 kills before – certainly as coach and dad I’m proud of that,” said Roger. “The credit goes to her and her teammates. She’s got great kids setting the ball to her and great kids passing the ball to them. She’s worked really, really hard and deserves everything she gets.”
Senior Night for Hudson volleyball
Quinn wasn’t the only senior recognized at Wednesday’s volleyball match. Hudson celebrated Senior Night, honoring the team’s five seniors. Hudson Head Coach Bobbi-Jo Trodella said the team is extremely close-knit; the team’s camaraderie is what allowed it to win 16-straight games.
“The 16-straight wins have just been teamwork together. They have pulled together. We have battled some coughs, fevers and viruses that are going around. Despite some of our top players being out during that time, we’re still rallying together… They’re friends on and off the court. It’s made them stronger,” Trodella said.
After the game, Hudson players paid tribute to their teammates, recalling their favorite memories with the seniors. Families came down to the court for pictures; tears were shed.
“I’m going to miss them tons. It’s their last regular season game, but we still have districts and playoffs… We’re going to miss them. As a coach – I’ve been coaching youth sports for 30-plus years – I say that every year is always my favorite year, but this group truly is… This group holds a special place in my heart,” Trodella said after the game.