Milford volleyball falls in championship
The Division II volleyball postseason was dominated by the two teams that, appropriately, squared-off in the championship game Saturday night at Pinkerton Academy.
Standing in the way of the Spartans’ first championship in 12 years is the very team that handed Milford their only two losses of the season, and Windham was not about to give up on their undefeated season. The Jaguars had lost just nine sets all season and that mark will now stand in history as they earned a clean sweep of Milford for their first state volleyball championship and a 20-0 record.
Windham took the night 25-20, 26-24, and 25-21. A straight set match win will be what the record books state, but this game was far from uneven. The largest lead in all three games was by a mere seven points, in Milford’s favor. In games one and three, the lead never surpassed five.
Leading the way for the Jags was a pair of First Team All-State players, Lexi Sawyer and Hannah Scott, the latter of which was a Gatorade Player of the Year nominee. Sawyer, only a sophomore, seemed dominant with 10 points on serves and 15 kills.
Scott earned one ace and 10 points on the service line, while tallying 29 assists.
For coach Jill Bartlett, the Division II Coach of the Year, she felt Emiline Sundman was an integral piece, “She kept us in the game when it mattered most.” Sundman notched five kills on the night.
“The girls did a great job adjusting on the fly,” Barlett said, “we needed to make change some things during the game and they adapted beautifully.”
For the Spartans, it will come as no surprise that the Division II Player of the Year, Olivia Rougeau, was one of the standouts. She tallied 10 kills, 12 digs, two aces, and a block. Senior Abby Blanchet played well for Milford earning 11 assists, nine digs, four aces, and two kills.
The two sides alternated points for most of the night, but it was the Jaguars who were on top when it mattered most. Bartlett can now add a third trophy to her personal trophy case; having now coached a championship team for the third time. Her first two are as the girls’ lacrosse head coach.
When asked about what factors led to this undefeated season she couldn’t have spoken more highly about her players and the team as a whole.
“We saw the potential early in the season,” that foresight has come to fruition and culminated in the ultimate goal.
“They beat us two other times, I don’t know there was a difference in this match,” Milford coach Chuck Roberson said. “Even though they beat us in three, every game was like two plays here and there. The fact is that all our matches with them have been the same. I don’t think there was anything different.
“We played tough. We hung in there. We did what we could. If they beat you three times, they might just be better than you.”