EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

November 1, 2012

Salem advances to finals

Balanced Devils overcome Dover star

DERRY — Dover may have boasted a more lethal weapon but, for the 20th straight match, the Salem volleyball team had more firepower last night in the Division 1 semifinals.

As a result, the Blue Devils (20-1) swept the Green Wave (25-21, 25-21, 25-20) to roll into Saturdays’ 5 p.m. finals against Goffstown (17-4), which upset No. 1 seed Merrimack in the other semifinal. Merrimack handed Salem its only loss of the season in a season-opening matchup.

“We were really nervous when we played them, playing for a new coach (John Roemer), and we’re so much better now,” said tri-captain Brianna Wojtas. “We’ve just really come together as a team.”

Wojtas was one of several Blue Devils who played well yesterday and helped overcome the exceptional talent of Dover star Molly Wotton, a 6-foot-1 junior powerhouse who is a prime candidate for N.H. Player of the Year honors.

Wotton finished the three-game match with 17 kills and surely would have had far more were it not for the defensive prowess of Salem’s back line led by senior libero Rachel Morrissey, who had 18 digs on the night.

Up front, Salem had too many weapons for Dover to handle.

The first game was deadlocked at 13 before the Devils put together one of their patented surges, led by junior Olivia Burke, who had four of her five blocks in Salem’s final 12 points.

In the second game, Dover led 14-11 before Salem put together a late string of points, the key one being a block of Wotton by Wojtas that put Salem ahead for good. Burke and Wojtas had two kills apiece from that point and Alyssa Kolbert capped off the game with a kill of her own.

“She (Wotton) is the best in the state so when I did get a block, I was pretty happy,” said Wojtas. “With our team, we have a bunch of good players, so we were confident, but not cocky, that we’d win.”

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