The NHS boys volleyball team made it to the Division 1 championship but lost to Newton North./ Credit: Needham Observer

Two Needham High School boys teams finished their spring seasons one win short of Division 1 state championships. The top-seeded volleyball team, seeking its fourth straight title, lost to Bay State Conference rival Newton North. And after two upset victories, the lacrosse team was stopped by top-seeded St. John’s Prep. 

The Rockets were on the cusp of victory after winning two of the first three sets at the June 13 volleyball final at Worcester State University, but the No. 2 Tigers (22-3) rallied to take the final two sets and the championship. The scores: 23-25, 25-12, 17-25, 25-22, 15-8.

“We thought our guys fought hard and played well in spots,” Needham coach Dave Powell told the Observer when it was over. “Winning’s really hard.”

It was Newton North’s third victory of the season over the Rockets, who finished 24-3. In April, the Tigers snapped Needham’s 77-match winning streak. “They’re a great team,” Powell said after the disappointing finale. “(Our guys) should hold their heads high.” 

Coach Dave Wainwright’s lacrosse team, the No. 7 seed, became the Cinderella story of the tournament by knocking off No. 2 Lincoln-Sudbury in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Acton-Boxborough in the semis. But St. John’s Prep, the three-time defending champion, proved to be a tougher test in Saturday morning’s final at Burlington High School.

The Rockets fell behind 5-3 in the first quarter, trailed 10-5 at the half and never caught up. The final was 17-13 St. John’s, despite 4 goals and 2 assists by Needham senior co-captain Sean Reilly and 2 goals, 2 assists by fellow senior co-captain Jack Curran. St. John’s finished 20-2; Needham went 17-6.

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