EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 3, 2013

N.H. Boys Volleyball: Astros could dethrone 8-time defending champion Salem


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — OUTLOOK: Defending champion Salem has some holes to fill but, with standouts Eric Denning, Steve Nugent and Andrew Ruffen leading the way, the Blue Devils may hold a slight edge in the battle for top honors in New Hampshire

Pinkerton and Timberlane should contend.

The Astros are led by 6-foot-6 Justin Scott while the Owls probably have the most experienced team around.

Windham, with five starters back from a surprising 10-7 squad could be a sleeper.

Bishop Guertin will field a team for the first time.

Londonderry

2012: 9-8, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters (1): Keegan Smith, 6-3, Sr., outside hitter

Returning lettermen: Ian Perry, 5-8, Sr., setter; Jack Perry, 5-8, Sr., defensive specialist; Nick Winn, 6-1, Jr., outside hitter

Promising newcomers: Mason White, 6-3, Sr., outside hitter; Stephen Wong, 5-6, Sr., defensive specialist; Jonathan Hoffman, 5-9, Sr., defensive specialist; Ryan Driscoll, 5-9, Sr., outside hitter; Will Driscoll, 5-9, Sr., setter; Lionel Gendron, 6-2, Sr., middle hitter; Isaiah Jenkins, 5-6, Sr., defensive specialist; Taylor Simpson, 6-0, Sr., middle hitter

Captains: Keegan Smith, Ian Perry, Jack Perry

Candidates: 20

Fast facts: Of the 20 players in the program, 11 are seniors and there is only one junior and one freshmen. ... The Lancers’ JV team was undefeated last year. ... There are two sets of twins on the team — Ian and Jack Perry and Ryan and Will Driscoll. ... Assistant coach Mike Collachi was on the first Londonderry team nine years ago.

Assistants: Mike Collacchi, JV

Coach David Starin (5th year, 42-29): “Even though we had a great JV team, varsity volleyball is a whole different level. It’ll be hard to match up with the elite teams, but we should be competitive.”

Pinkerton

2012: 15-4, N.H. runner-up

Returning starters (3): Justin Scott, Sr., 6-6, outside hitter; Ryan Williams, 5-10, Sr., outside; Kyle Heidler, Jr., 5-6, setter

Returning lettermen: Cooper Williams, 5-10, Jr., opposite; Jerman Terro, 5-7, Soph., libero

Promising newcomers: Zach Sanford, Sr., 6-3, middle hitter; Scott Evans, Sr., 6-1, utility; Harrison Duval, Sr., 5-11, defensive specialist; Andrew Lechner, Jr., 6-2, middle hitter; Damian Garrity, Jr., 6-2, opposite; Nate Brody, Jr., 5-11, outside hitter

Captains: Justin Scott, Kyle Heidler

Candidates: 32

Returning honorees: Justin Scott, Eagle-Tribune All-Star

Assistants: Amanda Dzioba

Fast facts: Last spring the Astros made the finals for the first time in their eight-year history and pushed vaunted Salem to five games. ... BC hockey recruit Zach Sanford and basketball player Andrew Lechner are newcomers. ... New assistant Amanda Dzioba is a former Salem standout who played at SNHU.

Coach Colin Walker (3rd year, 27-11): “Justin is definitely one of the top players in the state and I’ve been pleased with our new players picking up the game. I think we showed last year that we can play with anyone.”

Salem

2012: 19-0, won 8th straight state title

Promising starters (3): Eric Denning, 6-3, Sr., middle hitter; Steve Nugent, 6-3, Sr., outside hitter; Andrew Ruffen, 6-1, Sr., setter

Returning lettermen: Same as above

Promising newcomers: Charles Peters, 6-2, Jr., middle hitter; Darren Righini, 5-6, Jr., defensive specialist; Connor Sheehy, 5-7, Jr., setter; Jacob Slepian, 5-10, Jr., setter; Bryant Borges, 5-6, Jr., defensive specialist; Colton Burnham, 6-2, Soph., middle hitter; Zack Demers, 5-9, Soph., outside hitter; Zachary Farah, 5-8, Soph., opposite; Patrick Frydryck, 5-10, Soph., outside hitter; Matt LaVasseur, 6-2, Soph., middle hitter; Danny Nugent, 6-2, Soph., outside hitter

Captains: Eric Denning, Steve Nugent, Andrew Ruffen

Candidates: 30

Returning leaders: Eric Denning 151 kills, 33 aces, 70 blocks

Returning honorees: Eric Denning, Eagle-Tribune All-Star; Andrew Ruffen, honorable mention All-N.H.

Fast facts: Newcomers who should start are Colton Burnham, Dan Nugent, Charles Peters and Darren Righini. ... New assistant Todd Taylor is a former Haverhill High and Lasell College player.

Assistants: Todd Taylor, JV

Coach John Roemer (2nd year, 19-0): “We have three good seniors to build around and a lot of young talent. The key for us is the development of our underclassmen. We might struggle a little, but we’ll get it together.”

Timberlane

2012: 13-5, lost in semifinals

Returning starters (5): Erik Kaasila, 6-5, Sr., outside hitter; Mike Maguire, 6-4, Sr., middle hitter; Tommy Matatall, 5-8, Sr., libero; Tom Sullivan, 5-10, Sr., outside hitter; Matt Duhamel, 5-10, Jr., weak-side hitter

Returning lettermen: Matt Jackson, 5-10, Jr., defensive specialist; Matt Perry, 5-10, Soph., defensive specialist; Phil Balanoff, 5-9, Soph., weak-side hitter; Tommy Johnston, 5-6, Soph., setter; Timmy McLaughlin, 5-6, Soph., setter/defensive specialist; Jacob Shahin, 5-8, Soph., defensive specialist; Camden Todd, 6-4, Soph., middle hitter

Promising newcomers: Cam Donnelly, 5-9, Soph., outside hitter; Mike Murphy, 6-3, Soph., middle hitter; Drew Hogg, 5-7, Frosh., libero, Justin Maguire, 5-11, Frosh., outside hitter; Chad Ripley, 6-0, Frosh., outside hitter

Captains: Mike Maguire

Candidates: 20

Returning honorees: Tom Sullivan, second-team All-N.H.

Fast facts: Former Owls Alex Mill, Matt Dionne and Tim Anderson are all playing at Lasell. Connor Dube is injured and may be out all year at Princeton and Terry Matatall is starting at Rivier. ... Mike and Justin Maguire are brothers. ... Erik Kaasila is the younger brother of Amherst basketball star Peter Kaasila, who is playing in the Division 3 national title Saturday.

Assistants: Dan O’Connor

Coach John Dube (9th year, 79-60): “We have the talent and the skills but we just need to work on consistency and energy, which sometimes weren’t there last year. But we should be right up there with Salem and Pinkerton.”

Windham

2012: 10-7, lost in quarterfinals

Returning starters (5): Brandon Bernyk, 6-3, Sr., middle hitter; Alex Whitehead, 5-9, Sr., outside hitter; Tucker Lippold, 5-9, Jr., setter; Andrew Lowman, 6-2, Jr., outside hitter; Evan Todd, 6-6, Jr., outside hitter

Returning lettermen: Zach Breton, 5-9, Sr., right side hitter; Nick Alzamora, 5-10, Sr., middle hitter; Dan Rousseau, 6-4, Sr., middle hitter; Tim Erdlen, 5-6, Jr., libero; Robert Harradon, 5-7, Jr., outside hitter; Jack Grubbs, 5-6, Soph., setter

Promising newcomers: Joe Lorenz, 6-3, Sr., right side hitter

Captains: Zach Breton, Tucker Lippold, Brandon Bernyk, Dan Rousseau

Candidates: 20

Fast facts: Sophomore Adonic Lam, an exchange student who made All-State, returned to Hong Kong. ... The Jags went from two wins in their first season to 10 last year in their second season. ... Alex Whitehead was a captain of both the soccer and basketball teams this year. ... Head coach Chris Baribeau also assists with the girls program at Windham in the fall. ... For the first time, Windham will field a JV team. ...Three-year starting quarterback Joe Lorenz is out for volleyball for the first time. ... Lorenz is one of seven players who played basketball.

Assistant: Cade Nethercott (JV)

Coach Chris Baribeau (3rd year, 12-20): “We were pleasantly surprised at how much we improved last year and we want to build on that. With 11 players back, we should be able to do that. I’m expecting big years from Tucker Lippold, Brandon Bernyk and Evan Todd.”