Bombers quest for fourth straight boys volleyball state title cut short

Westfield’s Cole Davignon (20) rolls one off the fingertips against Lincoln-Sudbury in a boys volleyball state semifinal Tuesday at Westfield High School. (MARC ST.ONGE/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

WESTFIELD – Westfield’s reign of dominance is over … in the state tournament.
The six-time Western Massachusetts champion Bombers fell to the Lincoln-Sudbury Warriors in three sets in the state semifinals Tuesday night at Westfield High School, 25-21, 25-15, 25-20.
Lincoln-Sudbury (13-6) made a run through the Central Mass tournament as the ninth seed. No. 2 Westfield (15-2) captured its sixth straight West Sectional title by shredding the competition. The Bombers lost just one set all postseason – – until states.
Lincoln-Sudbury was deceptively skilled. The Warriors did not overpower Westfield, rather they employed a finesse style of offense and were nearly unshakable at the net, blocking the Bombers way to victory.
Lincoln-Sudbury opened the contest with a 5-1 lead. Westfield rallied to tie it 9-all, but the Warriors surged back out front when William Ginand and Jack Braverman converged for a pair of blocks. A 12-3 run resulted in a 21-12 lead. The Bombers were unable to catch up.
In the second set, Lincoln-Sudbury started strong again. The Warriors went on a 5-0 run.
Westfield whittled away at Lincoln-Sudbury’s lead, chipping away and chipping away. The Bombers pulled within one point of a tie, 9-8, 10-9, and 11-10 but could not overcome that final hurdle each time. Kills from Braverman and Ryan Maier fueled a six-point Warriors lead that proved too much to overcome. Braverman tapped the final point of the frame to an open piece of court, setting the stage for the final set.
Lincoln-Sudbury came out attacking again. The Warriors led 4-0 from the outset, and built a five-point lead, 12-7, behind the solid serves of Lucas Eggers. Westfield managed to pull into ties of 12-12 and 15-15 before seizing its first lead of the evening, 16-15.
The lead for Westfield was short-lived, however, as Lincoln-Sudbury tied the set at 16-all. The Warriors reeled off 10 of the last 14 points to put a quick end to the night.
Braverman’s solid all-around effort netted 10 kills, six blocks, seven digs and one ace. Maier finished with 17 kills. Sebastian Frankel had 32 assists for Lincoln-Sudbury, and Ginand had eight blocks.
“It was an immense challenge,” Westfield High School boys volleyball coach Tyler Wingate said. “We didn’t see a team like that this year. That’s not an excuse; it’s just a reality. …You saw the fight until the end.”
Westfield fought an uphill battle the entire way.
“That’s tough to do so,” coach Wingate said, “because you have to play near flawless to get back. To be fair, we haven’t had to do that that much, and we haven’t really proven that we can either. It was a little bit two-fold. They accomplished a lot.”
Westfield’s Nicholas Maslar finished with a match-high 12 kills. Bombers’ Aiden Quarterley had 25 assists, eight digs, and 2 ½ blocks. Alexander Robitaille and Vitaliy Samoylenko each had six digs. Nicholas Gonzalez made two blocks.
“Now we begin the exploratory period,” coach Wingate said. “I don’t think our path gets any easier, but we are going to do what we always do – – train hard and schedule tough opponents.
In other words, said Wingate: “To be continued.”

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