‘It means so much’: Westborough becomes the back-to-back volleyball champion

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‘It means so much’: Westborough becomes the back-to-back volleyball champion
Members of the Westborough volleyball team pose with the trophy. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WORCESTER – Big plays are made in big moments. 

With third-seeded Canton quickly gaining momentum, Westborough’s Quinn Anderson hit an overhand pass to the front of the court. Samantha Norman took it from there, setting the ball for Georgia Tyrell. Tyrell waited, timed her jump and spiked the ball over the outstretched arms of the blocker. 

The crowd at Worcester State University erupted as the Westborough High School volleyball team became the back-to-back MIAA Division 2 champion. The top-seeded Rangers defeated the Canton Bulldogs in straight sets to secure the title.

“It means so much. We’ve all put so much time into this program, and it feels like all our hard work really paid off,” said senior captain Addison Moore. 

“I love being here with my teammates,” said fellow senior captain Quinn Anderson. “ I wouldn’t ask to be here with anybody else. We’ve all been working so hard all season, and it’s amazing to see it all come together and win another state championship.”

Westborough competed in the state final for the third straight year. The Rangers fell to Hopkinton in 2021 before winning the 2022 title against King Philip. Although the team graduated six seniors – including two starters – last season, the Rangers were able to keep rolling and win the championship.

The Rangers’ dominance continued due in part to this year’s group of seven seniors. 

“They’re unbelievable,” said Westborough Head Coach Roger Anderson. “They set a precedent for a level of play at Westborough High School that is just off the charts. They worked so hard, and they’re great humans and great leaders. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

“All of the seniors – we’re really close,” said Moore.

Although Westborough earned the straight-set victory, the championship win did not come easy. 

Canton came into the match with an unblemished record (24-0), defeating Algonquin – Westborough’s Central Massachusetts rival in the division – in an exciting, five-set thriller to make it to the championship match. The team also defeated No.6 Melrose and No.14 Notre Dame (Hingham) en route to the state final.  

The Bulldogs were competitive at the start of each set, but slowly lost momentum with each point played. After trading points to start the first set, Westborough turned 6-6 into 14-6, eventually winning the set 25-15. In the second set, Westborough turned another 6-6 tie into 22-9, winning 10 straight points. The Rangers claimed the second set 25-13.

“With this team, I believe the outcome of the match is pretty much on us. If we play really well, we’re pretty hard to beat,” Roger Anderson said. “I believe in these kids.”

Canton, with their championship hopes dwindling, put everything they had into the third set. The two squads found themselves knotted at 16, and after Westborough was trailing during the set, Quinn Anderson spiked the ball over the net to put Westborough ahead 17-16. 

The momentum was firmly in Westborough’s hands – until it wasn’t. Canton – down 24-20, one point away from elimination – scored three consecutive points to put the pressure back on the Rangers. As pressure mounted, Tyrell’s spike got the job done. Westborough stormed the court and gleefully raised the championship trophy.

“I think the biggest thing is that big moments deserve big swings, and on the very last point you saw that from Georgia [Tyrell]. She just went up and put the ball away. I could not be more proud of her,” Anderson told the Community Advocate, noting that the team’s “hard work” throughout the season gave the “cushion” needed to survive Canton’s last-minute heroics.

“Throughout the whole match, we were really focusing on trusting what we knew how to do and being together as a whole team – all 20 of us. I’m so proud of us for coming together and getting it done when it mattered,” said Quinn Anderson.

As Westborough players found their families and took photos with the well-earned trophy, Roger Anderson, his daughter Quinn, and the rest of the Anderson family celebrated the team’s success together.

“It’s been really special having [my dad] as my coach. It’s definitely strengthened our relationship… I’m so grateful that I got to go through all this with him,” said Quinn Anderson.

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