WORCESTER – It’s official – the Westfield Bombers are a dynasty.
The Westfield High School boys volleyball team etched their place in history Thursday night, capturing their third straight Division 1 boys volleyball state championship. The Bombers swept the Central Division champion Natick Red Hawks 25-21, 25-21, 25-13 in the finals at Worcester State University.
“It wasn’t the most competitive game at times, but it was just really fun to battle it out and win our third straight state championship,” said Westfield senior Ryan Rix, who finished with five kills, six digs, one block and one assist. “Not many people can say they’ve won three straight so it means a lot to us.”
The first two sets of the championship match were nearly identical.
There were seven ties in each of the first two games. In Game One, Westfield (22-3) used a 6-0 run to take a 19-13 advantage en route to a 25-21 win. In Game Two, the Bombers went on a 5-0 run to take a commanding 21-16 lead. They won again, 25-21.
“I think once we got into the match, we really executed our game plan really well,” Westfield boys volleyball head coach Tyler Wingate said. “Our serving really picked up, and I just let them do their thing. …I give them a little guidance and they go out and make all the plays.”
Westfield made a few uncharacteristic errors in the first two games, but leaned on a well-balanced team effort. The Bombers took off in the third frame with a dominating effort that sapped Natick (17-5) of its remaining energy.
“We were just trying to be relentless with our effort, with our intent, and I think we may have worn them down a little bit,” coach Wingate said. “That can be attributed to a little bit of experience and just knowing it’s a grind.”
Westfield wore down every opponent this postseason, not losing a single set. In fact, the last time the Bombers lost a set was way back on May 24 in a 3-2 win over Greater New Bedford.
“We didn’t really try to get too carried away with any one performance, with any one play,” coach Wingate said. “We had a really a good postseason run … We beat a lot of good teams along the way, playing some good volleyball.”
“Coming out of last year, we lost pretty much all of our starters so we were not too high on this season,” Rix said, “but then we started playing, we started rolling, and we realized that if we play good on our side, then no one can really stop us.”
Westfield junior James Pavlyuk delivered another solid effort, finishing with 18 kills, eight digs, six blocks, one ace, and one assist; and junior Eric Yurtuc contributed 35 assists, five kills, three digs and combined for a block. Senior Ethan Flaherty (9 kills, 4 digs, 1 assist), senior Mike Bowen (15 digs, 2 assists, 1 ace), senior Dennis Pyatachenko (12 digs), junior Riley Coughlin (4 kills, 5 digs), sophomore Alex Robitaille (5 digs, 3 aces), and junior R.J. Piper (2 kills, 1/2 block) also made key contributions for the Bombers.
“We had a pretty good balanced, high-level performance,” coach Wingate said. “Three in a row is pretty remarkable.”