Milford Battles Back But Falls in Five-Set Thriller

Milford boys volleyball
Milford senior hitter Joao Boaventura helped the Hawks battle back and force a fifth set in the Central semifinal against Natick. (Josh Perry/HockomockSports.com)

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MILFORD, Mass. – No offense to the teams that played earlier in the afternoon, but the nightcap felt like the final. From the atmosphere in the gym to the intensity of play on the floor to the ebb and flow of emotions on both sides of the net, Milford and Natick showed why they are both considered among the top teams in the state.

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

After falling behind in Friday night’s Central semifinal on its home court, Milford (20-4) rallied with its strongest game of the day to force a decisive fifth set. The hosts led 11-10 in the fifth only to have Natick score the final five points of the match to secure the 3-2 (25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 20-25, 15-11) victory.

“My biggest fear tonight was coming in and getting overwhelmed by the moment,” said Milford coach Andrew Mainini, “but there was never a moment in the match where I thought they gave up. Some of the points and some of the rallies, the pursuits of the ball in the fifth set were great. They may have come away with the win but I thought we left all of our heart on the floor.”

Despite a raucous crowd cheering them on, the Scarlet Hawks got off to a tough start to the match. A series of unforced errors handed Natick the edge in the first set, running off five straight points to turn a 13-13 tie into an 18-13 lead that it wouldn’t surrender. Connor Reardon was the main weapon for the Red Hawks, while Milford’s serve-receive struggled to put the ball in good positions to attack.

The second set was back-and-forth, as Milford started to find its groove and find outside hitter Joao Boaventura. The senior had six kills in the set and he was a constant menace that the Natick block had to keep an eye on.

“Our offense has come so far in the last couple weeks that there have been a lot of matches where the ball was spread out a lot,” said Mainini. “[Joao] definitely came out to play tonight, definitely controlled the match and scored some really big points for us.”

Fellow hitter Tiago Filadelfo was also used frequently by setter Josh Orellana, recording four kills of his own, including a blast down the line to seal the set.

While it wasn’t the cleanest set for the hosts, who never led by more than three points throughout, Milford started to show some of its balance on offense. In addition to Boaventura and Filadelfo, Zachary Browne and Clayton Picket also got in on the action to keep the Natick defense honest in the middle of the net.

Natick tried to take the momentum back in the third set and jumped out to a 13-8 lead after three straight errors by Milford. The hosts started to battle back, with the help of a scoring error that kept Natick at 15 points. Despite the protests of the Natick bench, the officials kept the score the same and Milford took advantage to tie it after a pair of violations and a Browne block.

A kill by Filadelfo made it 17-16 but then Natick ensured that the controversy over the missing point would be short-lived by scoring nine of the next 13 points, riding the play of junior Brendan Carroll, to take control of the match.

“Their right side is not a very big guy but man does he play super well,” Mainini said. “We had a really tough time blocking the right side hitter. If we moved inside of the court, he hit outside of the block, if we moved out then he hit inside. To me, he won that match for them.”

With the season on the line, Milford put together its best set of the match. It was as though a switch had been flipped and the defense was better, the passing crisper, and the hits started to find open spots.

Browne snagged a point to bring the Hawks within one and then a block by Gabe Brandao tied the set at 6-6. Filadelfo had back-to-back hits to put Milford in front. Brandao had a block and kill that extended the lead to 11-6. Milford pulled ahead 17-12 on a kill by Boaventura, but Natick chipped away with three straight points. Needing a boost, Orellana set Picket in the middle and he buried his shot for a much-needed point.

As the crowd got louder and louder, Milford was able to hold off Natick in the fourth. Filadelfo with another couple of big hits down the stretch keeping Natick at bay and helping send the match to the fifth set.

“It would’ve been great had it been the final,” Mainini admitted, “but there was something special about it being at home and having the entire Milford community come out. The fan support was awesome. Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had an atmosphere that vibrant and intense.”

It was no surprise that the final set was close throughout. Boaventura had back-to-back kills to put Milford ahead 9-7, the second point coming after a long rally in which libero Tiago Carvalho laid out to make a spectacular dig on what seemed like a sure point for the visitors.

Boaventura added another hit to push the lead to 10-8 but then a net violation got one back for Natick and the visitors tied it on a kill by Will Landry. Browne put Milford back in front 11-10 and the crowd anticipated the completion of the comeback, but it would be the last point for Milford on the night. Natick got the final five points, four of them on errors, to grab the road win.

Mainini said, “The guys were diving everywhere to keep balls in play that I didn’t think could be. I feel like they left it all out there tonight. If a couple balls trickle over the net or are two inches in a different direction, the outcome of the game could’ve been completely different.”

Click here for a photo gallery from this game.

Tuesday’s Schedule & Scoreboard – 05/21/19

Today’s games are listed below.

Baseball
Attleboro, 8 @ Bishop Feehan, 9 – FinalAttleboro junior Camden Fitzpatrick had a day to remember at the plate but the Bombardiers fell just short on the road at Bishop Feehan. Fitzpatrick went 3-for-4, hitting a grand slam, a solo home run, and an RBI single for Attleboro.

Canton, 3 @ Milford, 7 – FinalMilford scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead and tacked on two runs in each the fifth and sixth innings to beat visiting Canton. Colby Pires was strong on the mound, tossing a complete game with three runs allowed and two strikeouts. Matt Shaver went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored while Justin Applebee had two hits, an RBI, and a run scored for the Hawks.

King Philip, 0 @ Oliver Ames, 4 – FinalClick here for a recap and photo gallery of this game.

Sharon, 6 @ Holliston, 12 – Final

Taunton, 3 @ Mansfield, 8 – FinalMansfield broke open a scoreless game in the bottom of the third, exploding for six runs and then tacked on two more in the bottom of the fourth to earn a win over visiting Taunton. The Tigers plated two runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 6-2 before Mansfield answered with two runs of its own to make it 8-2. Kyle Moran (two RBI, run), Eric Longley (RBI, two runs), and Jake Gerraughty (run, RBI) each had two hits to pace the Hornets’ offense. John Carney earned the win on the mound, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks, striking out seven in five innings of work. Matt Scibilia allowed an unearned run on two hits and a walk in two innings of relief. Taunton junior Nic Notarangelo went 2-for-3 with two runs scored while sophomore Danny MacDougall went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Softball
Attleboro, 2 vs. Bishop Feehan, 6 – Final

Milford, 13 @ Canton, 12 – FinalMilford senior Lucy Creedon came through in the clutch with the bases, delivering a two-run single in the top of the seventh to give the Hawks a win on the road in a close, back-and-forth contest with Canton. The Bulldogs built an early 6-0 lead, and led 8-3 after three innings before Milford’s offense roared to life with an eight-run fifth inning to take an 11-8 lead. Canton responded with a four-run sixth inning to go ahead 12-11 before Creedon put the visitors in front for good in the seventh. Milford freshman Gianna Cacciola went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored, hitting a home run that sparked the Hawks’ big fifth inning. Freshman Olivia Morelli went 4-for-4 with three runs and a two-run double for Milford. “Our girls never gave up, they never quit, ” said Milford head coach Steve DiVitto.

Oliver Ames, 7 @ Whitman-Hanson, 2 – FinalOliver Ames senior Colleen Larson had a game to remember, earning the win in the circle and hitting a home run to pace the Tigers to a win on the road. Larson struck out five in a complete game effort and smacked a three-run home run in the seventh inning to give OA the cushion it needed for the win. OA scored in the seven, third, and fifth innings to build a 4-2 lead. Grace Simone (two runs, RBI), Kayla Georgeu (run, RBI), Katie Abreu (two runs) and Abbi Holmes each had two hits for OA.

Taunton, 9 @ Dighton-Rehoboth, 3 – FinalTaunton scored three runs in the first, tacked on four more in the fifth, and plated two more insurance runs in the sixth to sweep the season series with Dighton-Rehoboth. Kelsey White improved to 12-1 on the season, allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits, no walks, and nine strikeouts. White helped her own cause with outstanding defense and drove in three runs offensively. Abbie McDonough went 3-for-3 with an RBI and stolen base while McKenzie McAloon (RBI, SB), Alexa White (two runs), Payton Ceglarski, Jaime Brown, Ava Venturelli (RBI), and Tayah DaCosta (RBI) each had a hit for the Tigers.

Sharon, 2 @ Stoughton, 4 – FinalIn a game continued from Monday, Stoughton scored two runs in the final innings to grab a win over visiting Sharon. The Eagles held a 2-1 lead on Monday before freshman Sydney Menz (3-for-3) singled, took third on a bunt single from Karly Estremera, and scored on an RBI from Jordan Lyons. On Tuesday, Menz was the catalyst for the Black Knights again, smacking a one-out triple to right and scoring on a bunt single from Estremera. Lyons grabbed her second RBI by knocking in Estremera with a single. Nicole Baker grabbed her 12th win of the season, stirking out seven with four hits allowed.

Boys Lacrosse
Attleboro vs. Bishop Feehan, 5:15

Franklin, 15 @ Canton, 7 – FinalFranklin raced out to a 5-0 lead after a quarter but Canton chipped away to get within two (9-7) early in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers scored the final six goals to pull away and secure a perfect record in Hockomock League action. Jake Davis had three goals and three assists for Franklin while Owen Palmieri scored five goals, Ben Greco had a goal and four assists, and Jacob Alexander (who had a strong day at the faceoff X) added two goals. Griffin Roach (assist) and Andrew Canto each had three goals for Canton while Tommy Vaughan had one goal and two assists. LSM Nick Mackay had his best all-around game of the season and won some key faceoffs for the Bulldogs.

Milford, 3 @ Foxboro, 18 – Final




Girls Lacrosse
Attleboro @ Bishop Feehan, 3:45

Foxboro, 18 @ Milford, 2 – Final

Sharon, 14 @ Mansfield, 19 – FinalClick here for a Recap and Photo Gallery from this game.

Boys Tennis
Milford, 1 @ Canton, 4 – FinalCanton swept all three singles matches and grabbed another win in doubles to beat Milford. Freshman Suraj Ramanathan picked up a 6-0, 7-5 win at first singles, sophomore Minh Duong earned a 7-6 (7-0), 6-0 win at second singles, and sophomore Ethan Nguyen secured a 6-2, 7-5 win at third singles for the Bulldogs. The team of senior Tyler Duffy and junior Justin Luk emerged with a 7-5, 6-4 win at first doubles. Milford’s Ben Johnson and Dylan Wang earned a 6-2, 6-3 win at second doubled.

North Attleboro, 4 @ Foxboro, 1 – Final North Attleboro went on the road and swept all three singles matches and added a fourth win at second doubles to beat the Warriors. Jonah Manso (first singles) and Sam Gallagher (third singles), both sophomores, won 6-0, 6-0 while junior Alex Pfeffer secured a 6-1, 6-1 win at second singles. The team of Saketh Uppuluri and Justin Strom picked up a 6-1, 6-1 win at second doubles. Foxboro’s Brian Gardner and Justin Neale won 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles.

King Philip, 4 @ Xaverian, 1 – FinalKing Philip went on the road and knocked off Xaverian in a non-league showdown. Marco DiStefano won 6-1, 6-2 at first singles, Nick Putney won by the same score at second singles, and Jack Cannon completed the singles sweep with a 6-1, 6-0 result at third singles. KP’s first doubles team of Nate Ihley and Zak Ryan earned a 6-0, 6-1 win.

Oliver Ames, 3 @ Brockton, 2 – FinalOliver Ames completed a season sweep of the Boxers with a 3-2 win on the road. The Tigers won all three singles matches to beat Brockton. Senior captain Henry Simone battled to a 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) win at first singles, freshman Kylash Ganesh won 6-4, 6-4 at second singles, and junior Yusaf Hameed prevailed 6-4, 6-3 at third singles.

Sharon, 3 @ Bishop Feehan, 2 – Final – Sharon junior Alberto Olivei prevailed in a tiebreak to win the second set, his match, and the entire match on the road at Bishop Feehan. Olivei won 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) at second singles while freshman Rueman Bhattacharyya picked up a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles. The team of senior Max Brody and freshman Max Chen won 6-2, 6-0 at first doubles.

Taunton, 4 @ New Bedford, 1 – FinalFor the third straight season, the Taunton boys tennis team is headed to the state tournament. The Tigers qualified by beating New Bedford, sweeping all three singles matches and getting one more win in doubles action. Brett Beaulieu (first singles), Dylan Kullas (third singles), and the team of Barrett Hodgson and Tyler Goddard (second doubles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Charlie Fiske picked up a 6-3, 6-0 win at second singles.

Girls Tennis
Franklin, 3 @ Attleboro, 2 – FinalFranklin swept doubles action and earned one more point with a victory in singles action to beat Attleboro. Krissy Stoyonova earned a 6-0, 6-1 win at third singles, the team of Brynn Jacobs and Ashvika Boopathy won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 at first doubles, and Vagmi Kantheti and Tessa Cacioppo teamed up for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 win at second doubles. Attleboro’s Ella Lynch-Bartek won 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 at first singles and Bri Aronne picked up a 6-4, 6-0 win at second singles.

Canton, 5 @ Milford, 0 – FinalThe Bulldogs won all five matches in straight sets to knock off Milford on the road. Rachel Kupferman (first singles) and Natalie Keppler (second singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while Sarah Hernandez pulled out a 6-2, 6-1 decision at third singles. The team of Nyah Claiborne and Rose Hazam earned a 6-3, 6-1 win at first doubles while Lily Hazam and Kiara Cerruti won 6-0, 6-0 at second doubles.

Oliver Ames, 2 vs. Brockton, 3 – FinalOliver Ames won both doubles matches but suffered two three-set heartbreakers in singles action and another very tight two-set match at third singles. The team of Eva Belanger and Morgan Vasiliou won 6-1, 6-3 at first doubles while Erika Mekler and Kathryn McCarthy secured a 6-3, 6-3 at second doubles.

Sharon, 5 vs. Bishop Feehan, 0 – FinalSharon defended home court with a dominant win over Bishop Feehan, winning four of the five matches in straight sets. Nupur Shukla (first singles) and Valeria Barajas (second singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 and Charlie Martinez picked up a 6-1, 6-2 win at third singles. The team of Sophia Fein and Sachi Bhasin won 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 at first doubles while Jessie Tarnoff and Lauren Glass earned a 6-3, 6-2 win at second doubles.

Taunton, 5 vs. New Bedford, 0 – FinalTaunton fended off visiting New Bedford, winning all five matches in straight sets. Jillian Pagliuca (first singles) and Jocelyn Pagliuca (third singles) each won 6-0, 6-0 while McKenzie Lucie earned a 6-1, 6-4 decision at second singles. The team of Sam Martin and Brianna Fevrier picked up a 6-2, 7-5 win at first doubles with Ogechi Ariguzo and Kayla Parrett teaming up for a 6-0, 6-1 win at second doubles.

Boys Volleyball
King Philip, 3 vs. Norwood, 0 – FinalAfter nearly two weeks since their last game, King Philip returned to action with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-15, 25-13) sweep over Norwood. Cam Corey dished out 30 assists and had six digs, Kyle Desrochers added 13 service points (one ace), and six digs, and Max Armour chipped in with eight service points and four aces. Eric Altobello paced the offense with 11 kills and two digs, Jimmy Peterson added seven kills and a block, and Mike O’Brien finished with five kills.

Milford, 3 vs. Bellingham, 0 – FinalMilford’s Matt Dague had a team-high five kills while Gabe Brandao added four and the Hawks earned a 3-0 sweep (25-13, 25-4, 25-10) over Bellingham. Nuno Mestre dished out 13 assists in the win.