HB reaches Final 4

HOLLIS – Hollis Brookline needed five sets and then some to finally extinguish Goffstown and continue its state title defense.

The Cavaliers, down 2-1, got an outstanding fourth-set performance from Jonathan Brackett to keep them in it and an amazing closing performance from Nick Wood, who scored the final four points of the match to give fourth-seeded Hollis Brookline a 20-25, 25-19, 16-25, 25-21, 17-15 five-set win.

“When it comes to postseason, those guys are in a different mode,” Hollis Brookline coach Ed Leonard said. “It’s a different animal in the postseason. My No. 2, my Nick Wood, my hitter, he’s the guy. When we need a point, it’s going to him. He was huge. When he’s on, he just hits over blocks right now. It’s a beautiful thing to see. We had our work cut out for us, that Goffstown team is an amazing team with an amazing coach. We battled with them.”

Wood took everything late in the game into his own hands and didn’t cede to the pressure.

He delivered four of his 22 kills to finish the win off and get his team another chance.

“This is my fourth time in the playoffs on varsity,” Wood said. “We didn’t make it very far my freshman year, but I’ve been in quarters three times before. I’m used to the pressure.”

The first set was a back and forth battle between the teams as one would expect from a No. 4 and 5 seed matchup.

The teams went back and forth most of the second set with no team leading by more than three until a big string of plays at the net by Hollis Brookline.

Wood and Mike Moscatelli found the soft spot on the Goffstown side and Wood came up with a huge block to help run the lead to 21-16.

It was Wood again with another huge spike to end the second set, 25-19 in favor of Hollis-Brookline to even the match.

In the third set, it was Jack Bellemore that sparked Goffstown in a variety of ways. Goffstown went on to win the third set and take a 2-1 lead.

That’s when Leonard went to what every coach needs: defense.

“I told them to play defense,” Leonard said. “Defense is what will win games for us. Our shots will come. If we’re not playing defense and we’re not passing the ball and we’re letting the slop, the tips and the pushes. We can’t set up our hitters, it’s all about defense here.”

Hollis Brookline led most of the fourth set and established its biggest lead of the night at 23-16, before closing it out 25-21 thanks to Brackett’s serving ability.

As it was all match, the fifth set was close all the way to the end.

The teams were knotted at 3-all, 4-all up to 9-all before Goffstown led 13-11.

The Cavs came roaring back though and Wood tied the set at 15-all before slamming home the final two decisive points.

Wood has 22 kills on the night to go with 15 digs and four solo blocks while Brackett delivered 17 kills.