Girls’ Volleyball triumphs against Wayland on senior night


Keertana Gangireddy

WA celebrates after winning a point.

Keertana Gangireddy, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The WA Main Gym fostered an environment of nail-biting excitement as Westford Academy’s Girls’ Volleyball team outlasted Wayland in a four-set showdown on senior night. Westford won 3-1 sets on Friday, October 15.

Ultimately, WA prevailed, dropping only the third set. Both teams were neck and neck, with three of the four sets featuring several grueling, long rallies, as well as strong comebacks from both teams. 

The first set of the match was sheer Westford Academy domination. Senior captains Jordan Krauss and Allie McIntosh hit several unreturned spikes, and senior Jen Graffeo increased Westford’s lead with frequent aces. Additionally, saves from Graffeo and Juniors Mia Rose and Sanah Chatiwala made it difficult for Wayland to win points. The set ended 25-15 in WA’s favor after an ace from Krauss.

After a 0-3 loss against Newton South on October 12, Coach Brandon Eang remarks on the team’s improvement after working on skills such as tracking and reading the ball during practices, which translated directly to Friday’s opening set.

“We moved much better, we’re more fluid, we’re more like a team. Everybody knew where to go. Maybe that has to do with senior night [with] the celebrations, the high energy,” Eang said.

After an easy first set for WA, they were matched with a run of consecutive points from Wayland. Despite powerful spikes from Krauss and strategic hits from senior ChiChi Ogukwe, Wayland got much better at keeping the ball in play. Wayland had a 19-15 lead in the middle of the set. However, WA pulled themselves up to tie the score at 24-24 thanks to saves from Junior Aashi Gurtata and blocks from Ogukwe. WA took the second set 26-24, ending it with an ace from Rose.

The third set was similar to the second, as both teams were nip and tuck for the set’s entirety. Wayland served several aces and won points getting the ball to the corners of Westford’s side of the court. However, they were equally matched by WA’s strong offensive and defensive performances. Both sides competed hard throughout a long set, with Wayland and Westford Academy battling to win by two points. Wayland ultimately won the third set 28-26.

McIntosh reflects that she was “scared for a second” due to the close sets. However, WA clutched the fourth set regardless of Wayland creating an initial lead. Westford Academy played catch-up the first half of the set before tying it up 16-16. The teams were then in stalemate until the very end, responding to the opposing team’s point with winning a point of their own. The set ended 26-24 after a powerful spike from Graffeo, resulting in a WA win on senior night.

McIntosh is proud of the improvement from the WA team, especially in regards to passing.

“I think passing, we did really well at. We really struggled with that at the beginning of the season, and we put in so much work at practice,” McIntosh said.

Eang reflects on the improvement as well, saying that the team came together well. He is looking to see WA’s players move to their spot quicker in upcoming games, and use the night as a learning opportunity.

“It seems like we get it now. I’m happy that we could transition to [a better level of play],” Eang said. “I’m looking forward to the team [staying] in the same effort level, same attitude, same high energy, and continue to read and track the ball, and move to their spot much, much faster than tonight so we can build from this.” 

WA will play an away game against Waltham on October 19.