By Christopher Smith
---- — BRIDGEWATER — Senior Addison Kennedy and her Andover teammates knew they were playing Goliath in the Division 1 state semifinal.
“It’s an attitude thing,” Kennedy said. “We came into this game a little afraid.”
Andover was swept 3-0 by three-time defending state champion Barnstable here at Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High last night.
Kennedy posted 11 service points, one ace and three digs as the Golden Warriors finished their 2013 season with a 23-2 record.
Kennedy said her team entered this season considering it a rebuilding year, and that was supported by when the Golden Warriors dropped their season opener 3-2 to North Andover.
But from there, Andover rolled off 23 straight wins, including 21 sweeps.
“We (graduated) pretty much the whole varsity team last year so I was really impressed with our team this year,” Kennedy said. “I am really proud of us for coming so far.”
Andover coach George Sullivan is the first to admit he had doubts heading into this season after graduating so much.
“But this year, this group brought things together more,” Sullivan said. “I told them over the weekend I watched the ‘Band of Brothers.’ In fact, I did the Band of Brothers tour a couple of years ago with my son-in-law. The whole concept is that they talk about ‘We did this together.’ And that was our goal. I know it sounds corny. But that was our goal all year. And they did. They pulled it together.”
The difference-maker last night was Barnstable’s extremely talented senior libero, Stephanie Martin. She was all over the floor, making digs on the most difficult of shots by Andover.
Sullivan made a few phone calls to learn about the three-time defending champs.
“And everyone I talked was like, ‘Their defense is unbelievable,’” Sullivan said. “(Martin) was great. She read the hitters very well. She moved nicely. It was very hard to get things past her. We tried. We tried to move and tried to cover things but it’s hard.”
Kennedy added: “We have great defense on our team but their defense is great to watch. Overall, it was a really good game of volleyball in terms of rallies, pace.”
The future looks bright for Andover, which will return some excellent talent, including sophomore middle hitter Madelyn Reppucci (6 kills, 8 blocks), junior setter Azita Bakhtyari (21 assists, 5 digs) and sophomore defender Mackenzie Kennedy (14 service points).
Sullivan said jokingly about next year’s squad. “I can’t say, ‘Oh, it’s a rebuilding year.’”
Barnstable 3, Andover 0
Division 1 state semifinals
Kills: Chelsea Hu 8, Madelyn Reppucci 6
Blocks: Reppucci 8, Rachel Schnakenberg 5
Assists: Azita Bakhtyari 21
Service points (aces): Mackenzie Kennedy 14, Addison Kennedy 11 (1)
Digs: Schnakenberg 5, Addison Kennedy 3
Barnstable (23-0): 25 25 25 — 3
Andover (23-2): 16 21 16 — 0