NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s a gift that keeps on giving.
On the occasion of Medfield volleyball head coach Jack Hastings’ 60th birthday, his team got him precisely what he wanted.
Yeah, they decorated the bus with streamers for the ride up to Algonquin Regional before Saturday’s Division II state title match. The Warriors also serenaded him in song.
But it was what his team bought him on the court, that was what Hastings really wanted.
“This what I told them, I told them my birthday was on the twentieth and that this is what I wanted,” Hastings said. “I wanted a state championship. They gave it to me.”
Medfield delivered on its promise to deliver Hastings his sixth state championship overall and the Warriors’ third straight with a 3-0 victory over Fairhaven.
“The program just keeps going and, obviously, with success, it does just keep on going,” Hastings said. “But if you asked me last year if we were going to be back here, I would have said no. But it’s just that … in the last four or five years, they pick each other up and say, ‘I like being here again,’ and do it.”
Medfield (25-0) continued its dominance, winning in straight games, 25-14, 26-24 and 25-18 to secure its 61st consecutive win overall. The Warriors didn’t drop a single set in the entire tournament.
The young Fairhaven (20-3) squad seized momentum momentarily in the second game, pushing ahead of Medfield, 10-5. However, the Warriors showed their experience, pushing ahead 17-16 on Kathleen Krah’s monster kill. The Blue Devils persevered and later took a 23-22 lead on a kill by Kara Charette. Medfield came back once again to close out the game with an ace by Julia Basiliere.
Despite the spirited play of Charette, who led all players with 19 kills, Fairhaven would get no closer.
“We made too many mistakes, that’s really what it comes down to,” Blue Devils head coach Karen Arsenault said. “We didn’t play like we played in the South sectional final. We didn’t play like we played against Melrose. This team [Medfield] was obviously the better team.”
Charette was mired in a duel with Medfield middle hitter Natalie Dickinson (16 kills) for most of the match.
It was a matchup worth watching between the Fairhaven junior and Dickinson, an imposing figure at 6-foot-3, who clutched her lucky “Hello Kitty” water bottle after the match while trying to re-hydrate.
“Their middles are really strong and their libero [Kayli Moniz], if you want to call her that, so as a team we just practiced accordingly to make sure we could shut [Charette] down because she’s their key,” Dickinson said. “That was our main goal.”