WESTFIELD – It appears that the postseason has arrived earlier than anticipated for the two-time defending state champion Westfield Bombers boys volleyball team.
Westfield High School knocked off previously unbeaten Greater New Bedford, considered by many as the state’s best, in a “Senior Night” thriller Friday, 20-25, 25-16, 26-24, 23-25, 15-10.
“We’ve had a lot of five-setters of late, but that’s what you get against quality teams,” Westfield coach Tyler Wingate said. “High stress situations are good to play in. It’s good to struggle a bit. That’s kind of what you want at this time of the year, is not to win every rally but to know you play it well.”
The Westfield Bombers saved their best for last, putting up some of their highest stat totals of the season.
Ethan Flaherty set a career high with 23 kills. James Pavlyuk tied a career high with 27 kills and notched five aces. Eric Yurtuc compiled 52 assists and three blocks. Ryan Rix put together a soilid all-around effort, finishing with seven kills, three aces, and five blocks. Alex Robitaille and Mike Bowen contributed 12 digs apiece. Robitaille also had three aces.
“Guys have really stepped up to develop over the year,” Wingate explained. “We lost a lot of good players last year, but the expectations don’t really change. We expect to play at a high level, a championship level. We hope that is good at the end of the day. … Hopefully that prepares us for what’s ahead.”
“We went toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in the South,” Wingate added. Ultimately that’s a good thing at the end of the day, but we still have a tough road ahead of us.”
Saints topple Bombers
St. Mary’s 3, Westfield 1
St. Mary’s posted a big victory, upsetting the shorthanded Westfield Bombers Friday.
Aaron Kielbasa and Ben Howes won at second and third singles, respectively, for St. Mary’s. Kielbasa won a thriller, defeating Westfield’s Alex Dawicki, 7-5, 3-6, (10-3). Howes won 6-0, 6-1.
Tom Young and Ryan Sweeney recorded a victory for St. Mary’s at first doubles due to a forfeit from Westfield in the match. Several Bombers’ boys tennis players failed to attend the sporting event.
Despite the lack of players, Westfield’s Chance Koumratakos elevated his game to top St. Mary’s Joe Wilcox at first singles, 6-1, 6-2.
Two Saints’ players were missing due to illness.
“The Saints showed much improvement, excellent effort, and great sportsmanship,” St. Mary’s coach George Hart said. “It was a fine win in (the Saints) final match of the season.”
Bombers top Saints
Westfield 4, St. Mary’s 1
Brianna Shvetsov (first singles), Makenzie Ritchie (third singles), Thea Glenzel/Brigid Moriarty (first doubles) and Alison Bower/Karina Popoli-Sarat (second doubles) pulled out the wins for Westfield in a Whip City matchup.
Erin Olearcek fought back at second singles to post a hard-fought victory, capped off by a 10-8 tiebreaker to get the lone St. Mary’s win.
It was a well-played afternoon for all players involved, also considering the blustery conditions. Both teams showed wonderful sportsmanship throughout.
Rams punch tourney ticket
Southwick 11, St. Mary’s 1
Southwick’s Bart Shea went 2-for-3 with a home run, a run scored, and a RBI;
Nick Michaels (2 walks, 2 runs, RBI), Zach Karetka (RBI), Dan Burnett (walk, run, RBI), Dominic Vercellone (walk, 2 runs, RBI), and Josh Lis (double, walk, 2 runs) each had a hit as the Rams qualified for the postseason with their 10th win of the season. They improved to 10-7.
Lis earned the win on the mound, allowing just three hits, one walk, and one run over five innings. He recorded five Ks.
Sam Mizonoglu tossed two innings of scoreless relief. He struck out five batters, allowed one hit and no walks.
Gateway 25, Renaissance 2 (5 inn.)
Lily Waters (triple, 2 runs), Chloe Govoni (2 doubles, 5 runs), and Lilyan Ryan (3 runs) had three hits apiece to lead Gateway; Gators’ Allison Manos (triple, 2 runs), Emma Bean-Barlow, and Madison O’Connor (1 run) each collected two hits; and, Fiona Bowler (2 runs) tripled.
Gateway pitcher Nicole Hannigan scattered four hits over five innings, striking out five batters and walking one. She allowed just two runs.