Boy Leading Norwell High Girls’ Volleyball Team This Season

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Ethan Guarachi is excelling once again for the Norwell High girls’ volleyball team this season.

The senior libero has started on the varsity team since he was a freshman. He was the runner-up for the South Shore League MVP Award last season after leading the team in digs (304) and aces (97). A three-time South Shore League All-Star, The Patriot Ledger featured him among its players to watch this season.

Guarachi is performing well for the Norwell Clippers this season. For example, in the team’s 3-0 win over Sandwich on September 12, Guarachi led the team with 12 digs and four aces while serving. As of Thursday, October 5, the team was 7-2 on the season.

“EJ is an incredibly smart player,” Norwell High head coach Scott Gilmartin told The Patriot Ledger before the season. “He covers and sees the floor really well. EJ keeps the team loose when needed. As one of our top players, we are able to move him around in our serving line for either of our middles.”

Although boys’ volleyball is a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association sport, Norwell High lacks a boys’ team; it only has a girls’ team. Therefore, boys can play on the girls’ team.

The state allows boys to play on girls teams due to the 1979 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision Attorney General v. Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association. In it, the court ruled that the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s policy of the time that stated “No boy may play on a girls’ team” was unlawful because in the court’s view it violated the Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution.

The Equal Rights Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution states:


All people are born free and equal and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness. Equality under the law shall not be denied or abridged because of sex, race, color, creed or national origin.


The Equal Rights Amendment was relatively new at the time. It passed at the ballot in the November 1976 general election with 60.4 percent supporting and 39.6 percent opposing, according to the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office. Every single county voted in favor of the proposed amendment.

Along with field hockey, girls’ volleyball is one sport where a handful of boys tend to participate on girls’ teams in Massachusetts. During the 2019-2020 school year, 15 boys played high school volleyball for girls’ teams in the MIAA while 41 boys played on girls’ field hockey teams, according to the MIAA — the most recent data available. Those figures include freshman, junior varsity, and varsity teams combined.

Unlike other sports, the MIAA has different rules for boys playing on girls’ volleyball teams from the rules  it has for girls playing on those same teams.

The MIAA does not allow male players to play in the front row; this also means that they cannot participate in an attempted block, according to its handbook. However, the MIAA told NewBostonPost in 2021 that this rule does not apply to boys who identify as girls.

In addition to volleyball and field hockey, there have been other instances of boys playing on girls’ teams, as NewBostonPost has also reported. This category includes a boy on the Carver High girls’ soccer team in the fall of 2021 because Carver had no boys program, plus a boy who identifies as transgender competing on the Brookline High girls’ cross country and track teams; the Brookline runner who identifies as transgender, Chloe Barnes, helped Brookline win an MIAA Division 1 state championship in the winter 2022-2023 season, coming in fourth place in the 55-meter hurdles at the state meet.  

The Norwell High athletic director and girls’ volleyball coach could not be reached for comment on Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.


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