Bulldogs win state volleyball championship
BRIDGEWATER — For the first time in program history, the Old Rochester volleyball team are state champions.
The Bulldogs bested second-seeded Dennis-Yarmouth in four sets to cap off their incredible run in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association Division 3 State Championship on Nov. 20.
“Today was our best game,” Head Coach Jimmy Oliveira. “I don’t think we’ve had a game all season where everyone was on — today was the day we were firing on all cylinders.”
It was a hard-fought victory for the Bulldogs, with the team facing close sets from the Dolphins.
Dennis-Yarmouth took the first set from OR 25-20, with most scoring coming from strategic net-front blocks and unforced errors.
The Bulldogs bounced back, handily taking the second set 25-16.
Oliveira credits the turnaround largely to cleaning up those early mistakes and simply getting back to Bulldog volleyball.
“When we are playing our game, we are very hard to stop,” the coach said.
After regaining composure in the second set, things once again started off rocky for the Bulldogs in the third.
During the set, the team faced deficits of 8-2 and 19-15, but fought back to even things out at 22 apiece, taking the pivotal set 25-23.
Senior Sydnee Pires, of Rochester, said while they were tough deficits to face, she knew she and her squad had the potential to keep going.
“We just had to put in one hundred percent of our effort and we did just that,” she said.
After a close comeback by the Dolphins in the fourth, the Bulldogs closed things out 25-21 to take home the state title.
Senior captain Kenna Soucy, of Rochester, was responsible for the decisive serve.
She knew if she served the ball just hard enough, it would take the Dolphins out of system in order to clinch the game.
“I was really stressed out going up there,” Soucy said. “How it ended made me really happy — we’ve been working for this for four years.”
Fellow senior captain, Maggie Brogioli, was also thrilled to close out her high school career on top.
The Mattapoisett resident entered the finals with one practice under her belt after pulling a back muscle in the semi-finals against Tewksbury.
Brogioli, not wanting to miss out on the chance to play on such a big stage with her friends, said once she was back on the court, any lingering pain “wasn’t really there.”
“It’s also easy to ignore when you’ve got a trophy,” she said with a laugh.