DERRY — After Salem lost 25-23 to Goffstown in an extremely intense, back-and-forth Game 1 of the Division 1 volleyball final yesterday, the Blue Devils knew they had to calm down.
”With the first game it was just a whole bunch of nerves,” junior Amanda Bickford said. “Everyone had so many nerves. After that game, we had a beautiful pep talk from our two assistant coaches and we just used that. And we decided to play as we have been this entire season.”
That’s what Salem did yesterday, winning in four games — 23-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-17 — over feisty Goffstown to earn the Division 1 crown. The Blue Devils last won the title in 2007.
This match wasn’t as easy for Salem as during the regular season when the Blue Devils swept Goffstown on Sept. 7. But it doesn’t matter how pretty the win is when it is. All that matters is earning the trophy in the shape of New Hampshire.
Goffstown battled back from a 21-16 deficit in Game 4 to come within 24-23. It then came back from down 22-16 to Salem in Game 3 to tie the score 24-24 before the Blue Devils prevailed 26-24.
”We were playing a little too timid today,” Salem senior Hannah O’Shaughnessy admitted. “That’s why we were making some mistakes. But if we played as hard as we always have, then we knew we’d (win).”
The Blue Devils had three players with 10 kills or more. Olivia Burke posted 13 kills while Bickford had 11 and Alyssa Kolbert added 10.
Kelsey Card recorded 43 assists and Rachel Morrissey play magnificent defense with 26 digs.
”This whole year, it all been about the team,” first-year Salem coach John Roemer said. “We don’t have one or two people who stand out. Every single game this year someone else stood out. It was all year and tonight, you look at our stats and basically everybody had at least seven kills apiece, which is great. The setters did a great job. And it’s a big team effort to have that many people blocking and hitting.”