Rebels Spike Rockets In 3-1 Win


A Walpole player passes the ball while a teammate looks on.

Andrea Lee


A Walpole player passes the ball while a teammate looks on.


The Walpole Rebels volleyball team had a slow start to the season with more losses than wins, but after a confidence boosting win against Norwood, they came to the Needham match on October 6 ready to play. With strong defense and fierce power that Needham could not fully reciprocate, the Rebels played their way to a win.

As the first game began, Needham proved to be a competitor of equal ability, with just as many good plays as the Rebels. Junior Captain Steph Barmakian proved to be a valuable player with powerful, accurate serves, along with junior libero Lauren Bodin. Senior Captains Shannon Cullen and Genna Swanson showed their strength with blazing serves and hits, even though this power sometimes caused the balls to land out of boundaries.The game was a volley of points, but the Rebels pulled it out and won the first game 25-22.

Walpole came to the second game with their spirits high and their enthusiasm contagious, and it was a complete toss up between the two teams as to who was going to win. Both sides continually made simple errors, from missed balls to balls not even clearing the net.  Freshman Summer King played amazing defense with great blocks, and Swanson’s hits were almost untouchable. Even though some Rebs had trouble keeping the ball in boundaries, they kept a lead going until it was 24-18, at which point the Rebels were convinced of a win. The Rockets, however, were thirsty for a comeback, and after  several nailbiting plays, Walpole lost at a disappointing 27-25.

With both teams at one win and one loss, the Rockets and the Rebels entered the third game determined to win. Senior Captain Rebecca Goula stood out with a good effort always trying to get the ball even if it was beyond her reach. It was clear that it was going to be another close game, and with a nice block from Needham, it was tied 10-10. The Rebs had a lot of little errors, but Needham did too, which kept the game at a close point range the entire time. Junior Emily Rothenberg had great, powerful serves, and senior Kim Ciardello made a lot of good plays.  With fierce blocks from Cullen and great hits from Barmakian,  the Rebels slowly got ahead.  Goula served the last few points of the game, ending it at 25-18 with the second win for Walpole.

Game four was a suspenseful one — if Walpole won, the match would end, but if Needham was victorious, they would play a fifth game to determine the winner. As Needham started the game off with a simple error, it served as a precedent for the rest of the game. King had another killer game with great hits and blocks, and Bodin contributed points with great plays. As the Rebels continued to bring great passes and serves, Needham kept slipping farther away from them until it was 18-7. But the Rebs lost their spark, and Needham used the chance to try for a come back, getting the score to 24-17. The bleachers were noisy, the air was suspenseful, and both teams wanted to win.  With a pass gone askew from Needham, the Rebs won 25-17, ending the match at 3-1.

With an abundance of talent and potential on the varsity team, Goula said, “Our expectations are to make it to tournament and finish number one in the Herget.” Noting their weakness as inexperience, and their strengths as strong defense and height, Goula has high hopes for the season. In the game against Needham, the Rebels fought hard, and the Rockets proved to be a good match for them. Walpole defended their home court, however, and beat the Rockets with a win of 3-1, and a record of 4-5.