HHS volleyball tops King Philip to advance to state final

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Sam Berenson
Hopkinton’s Sam Berenson digs a ball during Tuesday’s state semifinal victory over King Philip. PHOTO/CHRISTINE STRICKLAND

The Hopkinton High School girls volleyball team continued its undefeated season Tuesday night, defeating King Philip, 3-1, in the Division 2 state semifinal at Milford High School before a boisterous crowd of supporters.

Hopkinton, the third seed, advances to this weekend’s state championship match (details TBA) to play top-seeded Westborough, which swept Melrose on Tuesday night in the other semifinal. UPDATE, Wednesday, 10 p.m.: The state final is Saturday at 4 p.m. at Tewksbury High School.

The Hillers took an early advantage, winning the first game 25-18. King Philip rallied from a late three-point deficit to win the second game, 25-23.

Hopkinton then took charge, jumping out to an 11-1 lead and cruising to a 25-8 win to regain control of the match. The highlight came with the Hillers up 16-4, as King Philip blocked a Hopkinton spike attempt and the ball deflected off a Hopkinton player and toward the sideline. Cathryn Leighton dove to her right and was able to send the ball over to the King Philip side with her right hand. Mikayla Grady then blocked the ensuing KP spike attempts for the HHS point and a commanding 17-4 lead.

The final game was closer, but the Hillers prevailed 25-21 before erupting into a celebration.

Sam Berenson shined defensively for the Hillers, who also received stellar performances from Kate Powers and Melanie Gildea. Juniors Annabelle Senseney and Abbie Hardenbrook also contributed to the win.