Outlook: Coach Tony Hajjar will probably deny it, but Lawrence is the team to beat in the MVC.
The Lancers have four starters returning from last year’s 17-4 team, including three players who earned all-league honors.
“They’re hands-down the best team in the league, there’s no question about it,” said Methuen coach Matt Twomey.
Andover, with new coach E.J. Perry, Methuen and Haverhill should be competitiv but they all may lack the experience to overtake Lawrence. Central Catholic should be vastly improved and Chelmsford could be a darkhorse.
2012: 12-11, lost in North first round
Returning starters (3): Billy Baldwin, 6-0, Sr., outside hitter; Alec Dean, 5-9, Jr., defensive specialist; Kenny Doherty, 6-3, Jr., middle
Returning lettermen: David Stein, 6-3, Sr., middle hitter- T.J. Norton, 6-2, Sr., setter; Ryan Tjalsma, 5-10, Sr., libero; Kyle Surehan, 5-10, Jr., opposite; Eddie Powers, 6-1, Jr., outside hitter; Sam Doskocil, 5-10, Jr., libero; Jon Bakies, 6-1, Jr., outside hitter
Promising newcomers: Shashank Kaul, 6-0, Sr., middle hitter; Jared Goldstein, 6-2, Jr., outside hitter; Sagar Kaul, 6-1, Jr., outside hitter; Adam Yee, 6-2, Soph., middle hitter; Terence Norton, 6-3, Soph., outside hitter
Captain: Billy Baldwin
Returning honorees: Alec Dean, All-MVC; Kenny Doherty, MVC All-Star
Fast facts: Andover football coach E.J Perry replaces Dave Kuykendall, who had a 30-35 record in five years. Perry, who also coached at Methuen for four years, had a stunning 112-0 record with six state titles as the boys coach at Salem. ... There are five more candidates than last year. ... Assistant Matthew Montiero is a former player for Andover who assisted at Methuen.
Assistants: Matthew Montiero
Coach E.J. Perry (1st year): “Alec Dean is a good all-around player. He’s the guy we’ll hinge on. How far he goes is how far we’ll go. T.J. Norton is the biggest surprise of the preseason and Adam Yee is very athletic for a young guy.”
2012: 5-13, didn’t make tourney
Returning starters (4): Lucas Hammel, 6-2, Sr., right side hitter; Brian Adamopoulos, 5-11, Sr., libero; Doug Gemmell, 6-4, Sr., middle hitter; Joel Berroa, 6-4, Sr., outside hitter
Returning lettermen: Matt Conlin, 5-10, Sr., outside hitter; Joe Danisch, 5-7, Sr., defensive specialist; Liam Sullivan, 5-10, Sr., outside hitter
Promising newcomers: Nick Boes, 6-0, Jr., outside hitter; Justin Boucherouche, 5-7, Jr., defensive specialist; Nick Cambio, 6-6, Jr., middle hitter; David Vidal, 6-2, Soph., middle hitter; Jacob Francis, 6-0, Soph., setter; Sean Maraghy, 6-0, Soph., outside hitter; Kyle Thing, 5-6, Soph., defensive specialist; Yeraldo Rodriguez, 6-0, Soph., right side hitter
Fast facts: Alana McNeil joins the boys coaching staff after three successful seasons as the girls JV coach. The Raiders boast four all-MVC basketball players. ... Sean Davis (Limestone) and Mike Hovnanian (Rivier) from last year’s team are playing in college.
Assistants: Katie Paris (JV), Mark Molloy (assistant), Alana McNeil (assistant)
Coach Gannon Paris (10th year, 77-99): “We took our lumps last year while we taught some of our younger players how to play the game and adjust to their positions. We should benefit from that this year. Several sophomores made the varsity and will be strong candidates to be in the starting lineup.”
2012: 19-1, lost in North semifinals
Returning starters (2): Dylan Copeland, 5-10, Sr., right-side hitter; Casey Fitzpatrick, 5-7, Jr., setter
Returning lettermen: Javier Colon, 5-8, Sr., outside hitter; Chris Tompkins 6-0, Jr., right-side hitter
Promising newcomers: Chris Tetreault, 6-2, Sr., middle hitter; Tu Cao, 5-5, Sr., defensive specialist; Peter Firek, 5-9, Jr., setter; Alejandro Lopez 5-8, Jr., hitter; Dan Sullivan, 5-9, Soph., outside hitter; Rob Kelleher, 6-4, Soph., middle hitter; Connor Peterson, 5-10, Soph., setter; Ruslan Melnikov, 5-11, Soph., libero
Captains: Dylan Copeland, Casey Fitzpatrick
Fast facts: The Hillies got some bad news late last spring when standout junior Tom Oliveira decided to graduate a year early. ... The surprising Hillies won their second straight conference crown last spring and their only loss was to eventual state champ Cambridge. ... Jacob Pettis, the son of assistant Vincent Pettis, has switched to track. ... Last year’s standout, Drew Caruso, is playing at Lasell while Brett Pettis is at Emmanuel College. ... Ruslan Melnikov is a foreign exchange student from Siberia.
Assistants: Vincent Pettis
Coach Bill Kaste (17th year, 215-117): “Rob Kelleher and Chris Tompkins played a lot in the winter and I’m pleased with how they look. Making the tournament would be realistic. I think we’ll be competitive.”
2012: 17-4, lost in North quarterfinals
Returning starters (4): Jeyson Henriquez, 5-11, Sr., outside hitter; Anibal Henriquez, 5-11, Sr., opposite-defense; Reibin Hiraldo, 5-7, Sr., setter; Christian Mayi, 6-3, Sr., middle hitter
Returning lettermen: Jordan Castro, 5-10, Sr., outside hitter; Anthony Choquette, 6-0, Sr., outside hitter; Chris Pena, 5-9, Sr., defensive specialist; Andy Henriquez, 6-2, Soph., opposite
Promising newcomers: Christopher Franco, 5-6, Sr., defensive specialist; Ryan Camilo, 5-11, Sr., opposite; Christian Taveras, 6-3, Jr., middle hitter; Julio Vicente, 5-5, Soph., defensive specialist
Returning honorees: Anibal Henriquez (210 kills, 90 digs), Eagle-Tribune All-Star; Jeyson Henriquez and Reibin Hiraldo, MVC All-Stars
Fast facts: The Lancers have won 14 or more games 13 straight years. ... New assistant coach Sisa Alcantara was an All-Scholastic player for the Lancers in 2007. ... Andy Henriquez is the younger brother of senior standouts Jeyson and Anibal Henriquez. ... Junior newcomer Christian Taveras is starting. Anthony Choquette and senior newcomer Ryan Camilo also have impressed.
Assistants: Sisa Alcantara; Eduardo Monteiro (JV)
Coach Tony Hajjar (16th year, 236-92): “We should be pretty good. Our offense is strong but we need to work on our passing and defense. We have the talent as individuals, but we have to play as a team.”
2012: 14-10, lost in North finals
Returning starters (3): Toni Khouri, 5-9, Sr., libero; Pat Hambleton, 5-9, Sr., defensive specialist; Charlie Roaf, 6-0, Sr., outside hitter
Returning lettermen: Corey Bell, Soph., 6-3, opposite hitter; Tim Galloway-Burke, 6-5, Soph., middle hitter; Mounir Elhout, 6-2, Soph., outside hitter
Promising newcomers: Zachary Smith, 5-5, Sr., defensive specialist; Derrick Romain, 5-7, Sr., outside hitter; John Scammon, 5-9, Sr., outside hitter; Frank Perez, 5-9, Sr., outside hitter; Jake Branchaud, 6-1, Jr,, setter; Justin Iwen, 6-10, Jr., middle hitter; Luis Sanchez , 6-3, Jr. hitter; Mike Bodenrader, 5-9, Frosh., outside hitter; Sam Branchaud, 5-9, Frosh., outside hitter
Captains: Pat Hamilton, Tim Galloway-Burke, Charlie Roaf
Returning honorees: None
Fast facts: It was quite a postseason for the No. 10 Rangers who upset the No. 7, 2 and 3 seeds to make the North final for the first time since 2006. ... Luis Sanchez took last year off. ... Jake Branchaud is taking over as setter from older brother Zach. Younger brother Sam is a freshman outside hitter. ... Justin Iwen, at 6-foot-10, is easily the tallest player in the area and is “improving every day” according to coach Matt Twomey.
Assistants: Alyssa Ford, JV
Coach Matt Twomey (5th year, 43-41): “I think a lot of people will take us for granted because we lost some very good players but these guys we have practiced against them and have gotten a lot better. We’ll try to peak at the end of the year like we did last year. Charlie Roaf is set to have a big season and Tim Galloway-Burke is a factor blocking and hitting, and so is Corey Bell.”