by Ada m Rabinowitz
For the third year in a row, girls’ volleyball, 20-3, will be heading to the State Finals, where the Tigers will face Andover.
The Tigers defeated Barnstable Wednesday 3-1 in a tense rematch of the past two State Finals.
According to senior Bali Connors, a captain with the rest of the team’s seniors, this match was their chance to get revenge. “Knowing we had lost the last two state tournaments against Barnstable, we worked so hard in our training for this game and it definitely paid off,” she said.
Connors added that although Barnstable put up a good fight, the Tigers won because they had extra motivation.
“Of course we wanted the win for ourselves, but I think what made it so special was the fact that this was the first time our coach Richard Barton ever beat Barnstable in the state tournament,” she said.
According to senior Tess Simmons, one of the keys to the team’s victory was staying focused.
“We started strong but us seniors knew Barnstable’s reputation for starting weak then winning the next three sets. I think that got in our heads in the second set and they beat us. I got super down because I expected us to lose but in the third set we had a huge come back and the momentum kept us ahead in the fourth,” she said.
According to senior Sammy Marcus, the end of the third set was the highlight of the match for the Tigers.
“It was tied 21-21 and Tess was serving. We won the last four points. Those four points consisted of the best volleyball we have ever played. With this energy, we led the next set 10-1 and eventually beat Barnstable,” she said.
Simmons added that although the Tigers have never faced Andover, they have watched them play a few times, and will work hard to make sure they do well.
“We will probably work on serving and attacking because they seem to have a weak defense. I know their setter Azita Bakhtyari, a senior, very well. She jump-sets and is very good at tipping so we will have to be ready for her,” she said.
Connors also added that for the Tigers to do well, they need to stay focused.
“Volleyball is a huge mental sport, so having the momentum and energy is key in big matches like this. I think we’re definitely ready and all of us are more than excited,” she said.
The Tigers play Andover tomorrow at 6 at Fitchburg High School for the State Championship.