Both teams were evenly matched for most of the game. Neither could enjoy a lead for long. RHAM pulled out a 25-22 win in the first set, but Barlow, who had an 18-1 regular season, answered in the second, with a 25-16 win.
A late rally in the third saw RHAM come back from a deficit, and they appeared to grab the momentum.
That continued into the fourth set, with RHAM jumping out to a 19-12 lead, and kept Barlow in its rear view, finishing the match with a 25-18 set.
Coach Tim Guernsey, who oversaw RHAM’s Class L title in 2021 and last years Class M championship, said it was really just his players’ will that propelled them.
“I feel like this group is resilient,” Guernsey said. “We look back at that quarterfinal game [against Suffield], we were down 14-11 and we found a way to fight back. We work a ton on out-of-system goals, and I feel like that was something we needed to do well in order to win today. Barlow is a great team that we lost to in the regular season. These guys were hungry to come back and get that opportunity to play against them.”
RHAM’s Leilani Fecho, a senior, was named the match’s MVP.
“Not only is she a phenomenal player, she’s the first worker in the gym,” Guernsey said. “When you have a kid like that, that has so much skill, and works hard, everybody else has to follow suit. She’s just a phenomenal individual.”
Guernsey said he is proud of his program, and the three title says something about not just the team’s culture, but that of the school.
“It just feels great,” he said. “These guys have to come and buy in. It’s not easy. They come to school wanting to be part of something, but there are no guarantees. I feel blessed to be part of it myself.”