New names, same results for Needham volleyball – Boston Herald

NEEDHAM – The central cast of characters looked a little different, but the three-time defending Div. 1 state champion Needham boys volleyball team still opened a new season with a familiar tune Thursday night.

Despite a strong start from Div. 2 powerhouse Agawam in a battle between reigning champions, depth and progressive execution once again fueled the Rockets (1-0) toward a 3-1 (26-24, 26-28, 25-18, 25-13) win to extend the program’s win streak to 74 games.

Devin Dellamarggio (42 assists) and Luke Lorence (18 kills) led the way for Needham, surrounded by a long list of complementary pieces that heated up in timely moments to fizzle out the Brownies’ (0-1) momentum. Much of those moments came in the third and fourth sets as the Rockets found a way to separate from a tight affair.

Overall, it was a promising early look.

“We’re still figuring everything out, but this is a good place to start,” said Needham head coach Dave Powell. “We’re happy with the way our guys have been working and we’re going to keep at it.”

“I love this team,” Dellamarggio added. “I think we’ve got a lot to build on, but we’ve got a lot of scrappy guys that are willing to work hard, put in the work. So, I’m excited for what’s to come.”

The Rockets seemed to explore different options in the first two sets as they also worked off some early rust, and Agawam took advantage with a heavy punch out of the gate.

Brownies junior setter David Dzhenzherukha (27 assists) and sophomore Joe Culhane (10 kills, two aces) got into an early rhythm, pairing with senior Emil Zhmaidziak (seven kills, two blocks) to help force extra points in each of the first two sets. Lorence and Needham’s Will McDonald combined for eight kills as the Rockets edged out the first frame, though a rally from down as much as six points in the second couldn’t hold off Agawam from tying the match at 1-1.

It was a whole different story for Needham from then on, though. After never leading by more than four points in the first set and one point in the second due to intermittent miscues that broke up momentum, the Rockets led by as much as six in the third and 12 in the fourth.

“We limited our errors a little bit as the match went on, that helped,” Powell said. “A couple guys stepped up offensively, that helped. We got a little bit better passing as the match went on. So, it’s a good start.”

Dellamarggio’s list of weapons grew as the game went on, while the front row gave Agawam’s top hitters a tough time. Dylan Carroll (nine kills, two aces), Avery Kalish (eight kills) and Jeremy Bullard-Smith (seven kills, four blocks) each produced hot stretches for quick bursts of points, as well as McDonald (three kills, two blocks). Dellamarggio (nine digs), Ben Vu (eight digs) and Owen Ching (seven digs) led an improved defensive stretch, too.

“Oh man, I love it,” Dellamarggio said of the depth. “Could be a different guy every night. … It’s exciting. Anyone can go off any night, and that’s what I like about this team. It’s going to be fun when we put it together.”

Source link


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *