Marlborough Panthers pounce on Burlington volleyball

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Marlborough Panthers pounce on Burlington volleyball
Head Coach Chris Lowe coaches his team during a timeout. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

MARLBOROUGH – Not too long ago, the Marlborough boys volleyball squad played in front of almost-empty bleachers.

But that wasn’t the case on June 4 as No. 12 Marlborough faced off against No. 21 Burlington in an MIAA Division 2 playoff match. With their season on the line and a crowd of hundreds packing the bleachers, the Panthers turned back Burlington, winning the match, 3-0, and officially advancing to the Round of 16. 

Marlborough will face No. 5 Longmeadow on Thursday night. 

Extra bleachers needed to be brought in for this contest. 

“It was really cool to get that support from the school. We really promoted it throughout the school. We’ve become known for our culture throughout the school, and you can see it when you watch us play. We’re a fun team to watch – our bench is electric. We’re fun to watch. We have a ton of teachers here, a ton of parents here, friends, recent graduates. I never would’ve believed that a few years ago. The crowd was awesome,” Marlborough Head Coach Chris Lowe said.

Marlborough Panthers pounce on Burlington volleyball
The Panthers cheer on their teammates during the game against Burlington. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

Led by Gui Garcia (13 kills), Nick Andrade (8 kills), Marcelo Silva (6 kills) and Calebe Pereira (30 assists), Marlborough won the first set without much trouble. While Burlington withstood an early Panther run, Marlborough kept a comfortable lead throughout the game and ultimately grabbed the set, 25-18, to take an early 1-0 lead. 

Trailing in the win-or-go-home match, Burlington players gave everything they had in the second set. The teams were neck-and-neck, and while Marlborough appeared to pull ahead slightly as both teams neared the 20-point mark, it was Burlington that controlled the set as action continued. The Panthers called a late timeout and – despite being one point away from surrendering the set at points – narrowly pulled ahead, winning the set 26-24. 

“We’ve done that all year. There were times this year where we’ve been down a set – we’ve come back. There have been numerous times where we’ve been down 24-23 – we practice it every day. We end every practice with a close-and-late situation. It’s a scenario they’re familiar with,” said Lowe. “It didn’t go how we wanted it to, but we still took care of business in the end.”

And after the second-set drama, the Panthers controlled the match, winning the third set 25-9.

Marlborough Panthers pounce on Burlington volleyball
The Marlborough volleyball team huddles. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

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