Winchester let a winnable match escape its grasp when it lost to 17-25, 25-21, 25-15, 25-21 midway through its first varsity season this spring. But that made the rematch at Winchester even sweeter.
The Sachems (3-8) won the second meeting 25-19, 25-23, 25-23, providing a glimpse of how successful the program can be in the future.
"The guys realized we might have missed an opportunity playing there to win, but being able to come back and to beat them at home was certainly a highlight because it showed the improvement throughout the year," coach John Fleming said.
"They saw that if they kept on working the result would eventually come. We were playing programs that have been around for years so it was going to be a difficult season, we all knew that, but it was also good to have some of the successes that we did have."
Winchester also defeated Somerville twice, including a 25-13, 25-9, 25-14 victory in the program's first match at the varsity level.
Garrett Dagle had 11 kills and 11 service points, Mitchell Ulacco had 18 service points, Don Muir had seven assists and Charles Dagle had five kills in the victory.
The team also played two games against Boston Latin, Acton-Boxborough and Billerica and one game against Andover, which ended up in the North Division semifinals.
Playing five teams twice gave the Sachems a chance to see their progress throughout the year.
"The second time around we played a team, we improved, whether it was beating Lowell Catholic after losing to them the first time or just playing Boston Latin and Acton-Boxborough a lot tougher and giving them a much better match," Fleming said.
The team graduated five seniors but will return eight players. Starting setter Mitchell Ulacco, who was a sophomore captain this season, will continue his role next season. He will be joined in the captain's chair by twin brother Pat Ulacco, who moved into the starting lineup during the season at outside hitter, and Charles Dagle, who played on the varsity this season as a freshman.
Charles' brother, senior middle hitter Garrett Dagle, was the star of this year's team for his contributions on both offense and defense.
"I think it was a great first season for the boys volleyball program," Fleming said. "The varsity team record wise we have ways to improve, but there's a lot of interest in the sport. A bunch of players will be returning and the JV team was .500 for the year so we have some younger guys coming up and ready to produce. I think there's a lot of promise for next season, and the next few seasons to be honest."