The Tigers (18-2) started slow in the first set and were about to let it go when they trailed 24-19. Then they picked up seven points in a row to battle the Hillies’ set and momentum (19-3).
“The way we were playing wasn’t the team we are. We had to play a little bit better,” Fox said. “We had to increase the competition if we wanted to be where we were. So after I I told them that, they upped the competition and they really started playing well.
Wright added: “We rise when we are in situations like this. Anything is possible in volleyball. You can be down any amount and you can come back. I think we knew we wanted it so badly.
Wright recorded a team-high 11 kills in the 26-24, 25-21, 25-12 victory. She continually wreaked havoc with her powerful strikes that echoed throughout Billerica’s gym. Senior outside hitter Ioanna Tembelopoulos added 9 kills and 2 aces.
“My coach said to me, ‘I don’t care if you hit. I don’t care if you hit it in the net, but you have to hit the ball. And I took that and ran with it,” Wright said.
The Tigers will face the winner of No. 1 Franklin against No. 5 Needham. Fox could potentially face the school (Needham) where he previously coached at junior varsity level before coming to Newton North. He took over the program from legendary Richard Barton, who retired after last season.
“It would be great to go back and play at my old place where I used to work and things like that. That would be great. So you know, whoever I play, we’re gonna come and bring it,” Fox said.
Regardless of the opponent, Wright says his team comes into the game with a lot of motivation.
“A lot of people would be nervous about going to the state championship, but honestly, we’re going there with a chip on our shoulder. . . I think with every game we play we get more excited, more excited and more determined to be there,” she said.
Division 2 State
Hopkinton 3, King Philip 1 — The Hillers set a big goal at the start of the season: getting to the Division 2 state championship last season for 18-year-old coach Margie Grabmeier.
The third-seeded Hillers achieved that goal, knocking out the second-seeded Warriors 25-17, 23-25, 25-8, 25-21 in a state semifinal at Milford High. .
“I feel like they belong at this point,” Grabmeier said. “They play from the heart, they play for each other, they have great chemistry.”
Hopkinton (23-0) will face top seed and longtime rival Westborough (21-0) in the national final. Hopkinton prevailed 3-1 in the 2014 Division 2 Central Final en route to a state title. The following year, Westborough got his revenge in the same lap; and Hopkinton won the 2016 sectional semifinals en route to another state championship.
The last point on Tuesday night mirrored the first – a block from Mikayla Grady – but the fourth set went on a rocker. Hopkinton took a 6-0 lead thanks to a strong serve run from senior Samantha Berenson (20 digs), but King Philip (22-2) responded with an 11-4 run, taking an 11 lead -10 on a middle kill. Emily Sawyer. KP led until 16-15 when an ace from Berenson tied it. But it was the first of five ties from that point until 20-20 when Hopkinton senior Melanie Gildea tied the score with a kill. She scored another to give the Hillers a 21-20 lead.
“There was a lot of adrenaline and it felt really good,” said Gildea, who along with Kate Powers paced Hopkinton’s attack with 15 kills apiece.
KP shot within a point at 22-21 on a kill from junior Ahunna James, but Hopkinton ruled out the next point, leading Grady to punctuate the game with a middle block, his fifth.
KP rallied to take the last three points of the second set – the last two of which were an ace from Gianna DeLorenzo and a kill from Sawyer, but Hopkinton stifled all momentum and took an 11-1 lead in the third set after KP won the first point.
Westborough 3, Melrose 0 — Westborough preaches the motto that it is better to be constantly good than occasionally excellent. When Shannon Clark and Makenna Thrush walked to the line to serve, with the game on the line, they were reminded that stability was more important than shine.
The top-seeded Rangers used that approach to erase a 24-20 third-set deficit and outlast fifth-seeded Melrose 25-19, 25-14, 28-26 at Watertown High School.
Westborough (21-0), who have certainly also sprinkled with greatness, are one win away from claiming their first championship since 2017. Coach Roger Anderson credited his side for remaining disciplined in tense situations, both throughout the season and specifically against the Red Raiders (21-3).
“Our mission all year was to react when challenged,” Anderson said. “It was a big challenge, 20-24. We just played regular volleyball, played hard and took some brave shots. That’s what you have to do in the big moments.
The Raiders used a 7-0 wave to take a 16-9 advantage and win in set 1 behind play by Melissa Kuang, Quinn Anderson and Clark’. Kuang finished the game with 12 digs, Anderson 15 takedowns and 14 digs, and Clark 31 assists.
They pulled away in the second set behind Addyson Moore’s serve, but senior captains Elena Soukos, Autumn Whelan and Abigail Hudson helped Melrose take a 24-20 lead in the third. Clark calmly pushed Rangers to three straight points and then Thrush, Christine Li and Kuang worked to finish strong.
“I’m really proud of our response,” said Thrush, a senior. “I think we showed that in our game against Dartmouth, where we lost a set and came back. I’m really proud of our team, of the way we are able to react when the pressure is put on us.
Clark, a junior, said she was just delighted the season was not over yet and Rangers could continue to train and compete as a group.
“I think we’ve grown so much this season,” she said. “We support each other like no other team.”
Division 3 State
Old Rochester 3, Tewksbury 2 — With the season on the line, Old Rochester All-State center hitter Sally Butler left the field.
But the Bulldogs didn’t miss a beat behind play by senior Sydnee Pires, who registered two kills and a block in the final six points of the fifth set, propelling fourth-seeded ORR into the national final. for the first time since 1990. The Bulldogs rallied 2-1 to the top-seeded Redmen in the state semifinals at Bridgewater-Raynham. The match scores were 25-15, 17-25, 21-25, 25-23, 15-11.
“Syd has improved tremendously this season,” said ORR coach Jimmy Oliveira. “She really stepped up. She brought a lot of power. She’s a big block. She’s a great kid to have on the team. »
Butler was dominant in the middle all night, finishing with a record 19 eliminations and 7 blocks, including a stretch early in the fifth set when she recorded three aces blocks in a five-point streak.
“She’s a great player, a great blocker,” Oliveira said. “I want to enjoy this last game I have it for.”
The Bulldogs secured a first-set win behind seven kills from senior Maggie Brogioli, who finished with 15. But Tewksbury recovered to win the next two games behind backline play by libero Carrina Baron, who finished with 19 digs and 10 service aces and frontline play from Katie Cueva, who had 18 kills.
Butler dominated the fourth set, registering eight kills, including consecutive points that broke a tie of 21 all.
“I think we realized this might be our last game, so it clicked in our heads and we realized we had to leave everything on the pitch,” Butler said. “We put all our effort into it and it paid off and we won, which is great.”
The Bulldogs are awaiting the winner of No. 2 Dennis-Yarmouth and No. 6 Bedford, who will play at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Dartmouth High.
Division 5 State
Frontier 3, Mount Greylock 0 — Caroline Deane stepped up and recorded 15 kills, after outside hitter Jillian Apanell left the game with an injury early in the first set to propel No. 2 seed Red Hawks (21-4) to victory in the semis -final at Chicopee Comp.
Setter Sydney Scanlon had 26 assists and five aces as the 2019 D3 state champions Red Hawks advanced to their second consecutive state final, this time in Division 5. Frontier will face either Bourne or Paulo Freire for the title.
“I can’t express enough how proud I am that the team overcame the emotions of seeing their friend and team-mate suffer on the bench and stay focused to win Game 3 against a good Greylock team,” said L. Frontier coach Sean MacDonald.
Globe correspondents Brandon Chase reported from Milford, Trevor Hass from Watertown and Brendan Kurie from Bridgewater.