George Sullivan has coached Andover High volleyball for 28 years with a stellar 441-161 record.
So it carries an awful lot of weight when he says, “Azita Bakhtyari is probably the best setter I’ve ever had.”
And she’s only a junior.
The 5-8 Bakhtyari was named MVC Division 1 MVP, All-Scholastic and Division 1 All-State (16 players made it). She’s been contacted by several Division 1 and Division 2 schools including Boston College.
“Everybody said, ‘No question, she’s the best in the league,’” said Sullivan. “She’s a real gamer, highly skilled. She has natural ability and pushes herself hard to be better.”
She’s also tough as she played through an ankle injury.
Her sister Ava (AHS ‘12) was a two-year co-captain and Azita will be, too. This fall she had 589 assists, 69 digs, 67 kills, 79 aces and a 96.6 service percentage for the 23-2 Division 1 state semifinalist Golden Warriors.
Born and raised in Andover, Bakhtyari is a two-year starter and a three-year letterman. The National Honor Society student is ranked in the top 10 percent of her class. She also is the manager of the boys’ volleyball team.
2013 Volleyball All-Stars
Name School Year Position
*Azita Bakhtyari Andover Jr. Setter
Chelsea Hu Andover Sr. Outside
Amanda Williams Central Sr. Middle
Abigail Sonuga Haverhill Jr. Middle
Alicia Miller Methuen Jr. Middle
Erin Cox No. Andover Sr. Setter
Emily Murray No. Reading Sr. Middle
Amanda Bickford Salem Sr. Middle
Olivia Burke Salem Sr. Middle
Christina Nye Timberlane Sr. Outside
Melissa Cino Windham Sr. Setter
* Denotes Eagle-Tribune MVP
Chelsea Hu, Andover Senior, Outside Hitter
All-MVC. All-Scholastic. Division 1 All-State. Co-captain. Had 195 kills, 47 aces. “At the beginning, she didn’t play defense but after the second game we couldn’t take her off the floor,” said coach George Sullivan. “She was a great player and very, very coachable.” 5-foot-8. Two-year starter. Three-year letterman. National Honor Society. First language was Chinese.