July 21, 2024

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Rockets Fall in Both Title Games

June 15, 2024 **updated June 24, 2024**

• With two teams playing for a Division 1 State Championship, Needham went 0-2.

In an exciting conclusion to the Needham Rockets Spring Sports season, Boys Volleyball and fell just short of an MIAA record, while Boys Lacrosse didn’t have enough to take down the top seed.

No school had ever won four straight MIAA state titles in Boys Volleyball, so Needham was hoping to make history on Thursday, June 13th at Worcester State, with another victory at the expense of Bay State Conference rival, Newton North. The Tigers, however, matched the Rockets with two set wins apiece, then dominated the fifth, 15-8, to win their first ever Boys Volleyball State Title.

Needham won a hard fought first set, 25-23, but Newton North started the second on a hot streak, then rolled to a 25-12 win to tie it up. While the third set didn’t all go the Rockets way, they still took control halfway through, taking it 25-17.

The fourth was one of the most exciting sets ever, with both teams battling back and forth and neither leading by more than two points. That is until the Tigers rattled off three straight points to take a 22-18 lead. They then finished off Needham 25-22 to set up the fifth and final set.

With the win, Newton North is the only team to defeat the Rockets this year, and they took all three matchups with Needham this year, including a 3-1 win at the A Gym in Needham back on May 14th.

After originally being scheduled for Friday night, but postponed due to thunderstorms, Needham Boys Lacrosse was hoping to do the same thing to St. John’s Prep that Newton North did to their Boys Volleyball brethren: halt a streak of three straight state titles. The game at Burlington High School was rescheduled for 10:00am on Saturday morning.

But that didn’t stop the Needham faithful from showing up and showing out, as they rattled their cow bells when the Rockets took the field for warm ups. They had much to cheer for at the start, as Needham took an early 1-0 lead thanks to senior captain, Sean Reilly. If you like offensive lacrosse, this was the game for you.

However the strength of St Johns Prep shined through after that, jumping out to a 5-1 lead. From that moment on, it would be a game of catch up for the Rockets.

Spencer Chapman would ring one in after a turnover caused by Needham’s defense, then with 12 seconds remaining in the 1st, Reilly would net his 2nd cutting the deficit to 5-3.

The Eagles would rally, securing a 9-3 lead with 5 minutes to play in the half. However the Reilly heroics would continue as he’d put in 2 more, one with 2 seconds left in the half, which would make things 10-5 heading to the 3rd.

The catch up game would continue through the second half. The Needham long stick duo of Jimmy Kenney and Jack Curran would cut the SJP lead 11-8, but it would quickly bounce back up to 13-8 later on in the 3rd.

The scoreboard would read 14-10 in favor of SJP heading into the final quarter of the season. Needham would cut the lead to 3 one more time thanks to Cal Sullivan, but in the end the early deficit was too much to recover from.

The final score from Burlington HS, 17-13 St Johns Prep, as they secure their 4th straight D1 title. However, Needham’s 13 goals is the largest amount any team has scored on the Eagles this year. Sean Reilly led the team with 4 goals, with hat tricks in the books for Jack Curran and Spencer Chapman.

TNC Sports Anchor Joe McGinty has highlights from both title games here:

The highlights above ran as part of the Needham Channel News, a weekly newscast airing on The Needham Channel every Thursday at 7:30pm. The Needham Channel News can be found on the Community Channel: Comcast 9, Astound 15 and Verizon 29. Most Thursdays it also can be viewed on our HD Channel on Verizon 2129, Astound 613 and streaming on this site.
For full brackets of each sport, head to the tournament section of the MIAA website: https://miaa.net/tournament-central/ To keep updated on the Rockets playoff journey, check out our X page: @tnc_sports