Boston Herald

Cambridge holds off Lexington in epic match

- By Tom Mulherin

The stage was set for an epic comeback from No. 9 Lexington in an all-time Div. 1 second-round matchup Tuesday night, and No. 8 Cambridge was on its way to losing out on its grand opportunit­y to move on in the state tournament in front of a raucous crowd.

First, the Falcons were one point away from advancing in the fourth set before Lexington rallied from down 24-22 to force a fifth. Then, 14-13 and 15-14 leads were washed away by more Minutemen heroics.

Both teams were throwing haymakers in the most critical times. But with a Henry Bonney block that just barely touched down inside the line to ice the match, Cambridge connected on just one more to hold on for a 3-2 win (22-25, 25-19, 25-18, 26-28, 17-15).

The Falcons, waiting for the winner of No. 1 Needham/No. 16 Methuen in the Div. 1 state quarterfin­al round, aren’t done yet.

“I’d say it exhibits a lot of grit, but in the first place, we don’t want it to get to that point,” said Cambridge senior Isaac Wedaman. “We’ve worked the whole season for this. This is what we want, we want to go far. We know we can.”

“I think they did it for each other,” added Falcons head coach Kelley Leary. “They like each other and they love volleyball.”

As part of his vast upward climb of improvemen­t from last year, Wedaman was nearly unstoppabl­e in long stretches alongside Bonney. His seven kills in the fifth set added to a whopping 22 in the match, while Bonney (17 kills, three blocks), Leo Rothenberg (eight kills, two blocks) and Jayden Ferreira-Miller (three kills, two blocks) finished off great setting from Eric Su (49 assists) to give Lexington all it could handle.

And yet, it was nearly all for naught despite running away with a 2-1 match lead.

Lexington struggled with execution through the second and third sets, but found its high-level mojo at seemingly the best time in the fourth. Senior stars Matteo Luciani (24 kills) and Justin Cheng (12 kills, seven blocks) combined for six kills in the frame leading up to a 21-21 tie. Cambridge took three of the next four on kills from Wedaman and Ferreira-Miller, but Matteo Luciani, Alessandro Luciani, Cheng, Tammer Haddad and Nadav Vachtel each dialed up points to rally from deficits of 24-22 and 26-25 to keep the season alive.

Jack Fan (52 assists) fed Matteo Luciani, Haddad and Cheng more in the fifth, countering Su’s 21 assists in the fourth and fifth sets combined. Wedaman was on fire to help build a 14-13 lead, before Vachtel tied it with a kill. Vachtel then tied it again at 15-15.

But a hitting error put Lexington down 16-15, and Bonney’s block sealed the win.

“It was a huge team effort,” Wedaman said. “At the end, the team kind of pulled it together. … It was great to see.”

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