WINDHAM — It went down to the wire, but Windham pulled out a 3-2 win over Pinkerton of Derry in the regular-season finale for both teams.
At 14-2, the Jaguars will be the No. 2 seed in the NHIAA tournament. The Astros (12-4) will be the No. 4 seed. The top four teams get first-round byes.
Nine-time champion Salem defeated Coe-Brown of Northwood 3-0 Monday and clinched the top seed with a 15-1 record.
But that one Salem loss is significant. That 3-0 loss to Pinkerton on May 27 broke a 54-game win streak and was only the second loss ever in the program’s 10-year history.
Both teams traded sets and Windham needed a fifth set to decide the match. “When you play one of the biggest schools like Pinkerton it brings out the best in both teams,” said Windham coach Chris Baribeau. “To take it all the way to five (sets) ... it was a lot of fun.”
Even Todd led the way with 15 kills. Tucker Lippold and Jack Grubbs each had 16 assists for the Jaguars. Andrew Lechner and Damian Garrity had seven kills each for the Astros.
“It was a good game for us to play going into the playoffs,” said Pinkerton coach Colin Walker. “We made some unforced errors but it could have gone either way.”
The tournament starts Friday but Windham and Pinkerton, with byes, won’t play until Tuesday, June 10. No other team but Salem has been champs since the NHIAA started boys’ volleyball 10 years ago.
Could this be the year that changes? “They’re still the team to beat,” said Walker. “At the end of the day they’re the ones you have to beat. If we make it to the semifinals that’s who we’ll have to go through.
“We beat them, but it was regular season, not their playoff mode,” said Walker. “I’ve seen them too many times and I know what they are like.”