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Milford Boys’ Volleyball rides 'rollercoaster' season

Milford celebrates after a recent win over Newton North. Photo credit: Olga Lyubkin

Scarlet Hawks once again a formidable force in the state

By Chris Villani

Senior Joey Newman (13) at 6’5” has emerged as one of the state’s top middle hitters. Photo credit: Olga Lyubkin

 Sports seasons are often filled with ups and downs, but rarely are a team's surges and struggles as pronounced as those of the 2024 Milford High boys’ volleyball squad. The Scarlet Hawks started the year on a roll, winning most of their matches in straight sets. They then lost five straight before rebounding with a series of wins capped off by a 3-1 victory over Newton North, perhaps the top team in the state.

“It’s been a slight rollercoaster of a season so far,” head coach Andrew Mainini said. “But I think we are on the most exciting and productive part of the rollercoaster at this point.”

Mainini, who led the team to an appearance in the final four a season ago, credited some slight modifications to the lineup for the team’s surge at the end of the regular season. Milford went into the state tournament ranked in the top-five in the state and poised to make another deep run.

“We are seeing that a couple of players in different positions really made them shine, which is what we were looking for in the middle of the season,” the coach said.

Senior captains Alex Guerra and Arthur Gomes continued to be huge parts of the MHS lineup this spring. Mainini said one of the changes he made midseason was moving Gomes from a hitting position to libero, a defensive-minded spot.

“That made a huge difference in both our defense and our offense,” the coach said.

Mainini said the athlete who has made the most growth this year is middle hitter Joey Newman.

“He really exceeded expectations,” Mainini said. “We don’t think we have seen a better middle in the state this year than Joey. If he is not the best, he is in the conversation with other top tier teams that have strong middles.”

Setter Owen Callahan has helped drive the second-half surge as well, Mainini said, crediting his “relentless” pursuit of improvement. Milford has also been aided by sophomore Gus Da Silva, who finished the regular season third on the team in kills.

“That’s a huge accomplishment for a sophomore to do on such a competitive team,” Mainini said.

Milford earned the number four seed in the state tournament, which means the Hawks had the ability to host tournament games until the final four.

“We really think we are one of the top four teams in the state, so we are hoping to be playing in that state semifinal match,” Mainini said. “From there, we think it’s whatever team shows up to play that day.”