[ccfic caption-text format="plaintext"]
By Michael Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The Needham and Wellesley High School varsity boys volleyball teams renewed their rivalry last Monday night, as the Rockets (6-0) outlasted the Raiders (2-2) by a final of 3-0, thanks to some dominant performances at the net by senior captain Brady Orozco-Herman and Eli Wallace.
Before their date with Wellesley, the Rockets took down Brookline (3-0) in their season and conference opener on April 3 before a 3-0 victory over Weymouth on April 5. The Rockets earned another win over Acton-Boxboro two days later in a non-conference matchup thanks in large part to Brady Orozco-Herman, who snagged an ace on match point to give Needham a 25-20 third-set victory and the 3-0 overall win.
After defeating Wellesley and improving to 4-0 on the year, the Rockets were able to battle to a hard fought 3-2 victory against rival Newton North on Wednesday night to improve to 5-0 on the year before cruising by Norwood (3-0) on Thursday evening to keep their unbeaten strike alive and put them at 6-0.
The Raiders, meanwhile, responded to their loss to Needham by defeating 2016 Division I state champion Framingham 3-2 on Wednesday night. Wellesley’s ability to shut down Framingham’s top-level talent that led the Flyers to a state championship last season was simply incredible; this was unarguably the Raiders’ most impressive and complete performance of the young 2017 season. The win over Framingham is more than just a confidence-booster for the Raiders, however, as it got them back to .500 and allowed them to gain two critical points within the Bay State Conference.
The Rockets will look to stay unbeaten when they travel to Andover on April 20 for a non-conference matinee while Wellesley will host Bay State Conference foe Braintree on April 24.