EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 29, 2013

N.H. Volleyball: Bickford, Burke lead defending champs


The Eagle-Tribune

---- — OUTLOOK: Salem will have its hands full defending its Division 1 title. Dover should be tough to beat with 2012 N.H. Player of the Year Molly Wotton leading the way and Merrimack boasts standout Jen Coffey with younger sister Julie joining her. Other teams to watch are Goffstown and Pinkerton while no one is overlooking the Blue Devils.

In Division 2, a deep Windham squad should contend for top honors with Coe-Brown and St. Thomas.

Londonderry

2012 record: 7-12, lost in Division 1 first round

Returning starters (1): Taylor Collins, Sr., 6-1, MH

Returning lettermen: Cassie Burbine, Sr., 5-7, setter; Marissa Russell, Sr., 5-9, MH; Lauren Reinhold, Sr., 5-4, defense; Madison Milton, Jr., 5-6, OH; Mariska Feenstra, Jr., 5-7, OH; Niki Skov, Jr., 5-9, MH

Promising newcomers: Emily Georgakopoulos, Sr.; 5-9, setter; Kelsey Ryan, Sr., 5-7, OH; Cassidy Litch, Sr., 5-7, setter; Taylor Fitton, Sr., 5-3, libero; Maggie Connors, Jr., 5-10, MH

Candidates: 44

Captains: TBA

Assistants: Suzan Rowe, JV; Bill Newcomb, assistant; Nick Theos, Freshmen

Odds and ends: Cassie Burbine, who could be used as a setter or libero, was Eagle-Tribune tennis MVP. ... Jaime King, last year’s setter, moved to Amherst and will likely play for Souhegan.

Peter Willis (18th year, 155-133): “We’ve got some size this year and some weapons, girls who can put the ball down. The key is if we can get the ball to them consistently. We’ll probably do a lot of platooning.”

Pinkerton

2012 record: 14-6, lost in Division 1 quarters

Returning starters (3): Kelsey Cummings, Sr., 5-6, OH; Courtney Collins, Sr., 6-2, MH; Taylor Ferdinando, Sr., 5-6, setter

Returning lettermen: Denise White, Sr., 5-8, OH; Elizabeth Hicks, Jr., 5-6, setter

Promising newcomers: Brittany Capozzi, Jr., 5-8, MH; Michaela Blackwell, Jr., 5-10, MH; Jillian Tonello, Jr., 5-8, OH; Nicole Langlais, Jr., 5-6, defense; Olivia Mathieu, Soph., 5-11, OH; Faolain Harrington, Soph., 5-8, OH; Lexi Verrault, Frosh., 5-3, defense

Candidates: 74

Captains: TBA

Returning honorees: None

Assistants: Kelly Wall, JV; Jessica Marrone, freshmen

Odds and ends: Freshman coach Jessica (Fortin) Marrone was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star for the Astros in 2001. ... Impressive sophomore Olivia Mathieu is the younger sister of minor league baseball player Zach Mathieu. ... Freshman Lexi Verrault has an extensive background in the sport and should help out right away. ... Rachel Byrd will miss the season with an injury but will serve as a team manager. ... Madison Neidlinger started last year but moved to Texas.

Todd Royce (5th year, 59-21): “I think we’ll be pretty good. Our seniors will be the key, how they can lead and get the younger players playing.”

Salem

2012 record: 21-1, Division 1 state champ

Returning starters (5): Amanda Bickford, Sr., 5-8, MH; Alyssa Kolbert, Sr., 5-10, OH; Alyssa Matthews, Sr., 5-6, defense; Shari Juranovits, Sr., 5-11, OH; Olivia Burke, Sr., 6-0, MH

Returning lettermen: Kayla Hannon, Sr., 5-3, setter; Kara Thomas, Sr., 5-4, defense

Promising newcomers: Ashley Mathews, Soph., 5-7, OH; Callie Dassler, Jr., 5-3, defense; Emily Thayer, Jr., 5-6, setter; Nicole Olivieri, Jr., 5-6, setter; Nicolette Fallisi, Jr., 5-7, OH; Rachel Towler, Jr., 5-6, setter; Samantha Riel, Jr., 5-5, defense

Candidates: 68

Captains: Amanda Bickford, Olivia Burke

Assistants: Beth Weiss; Christina Miano, JV; Bruce Shainwald, Freshmen

Odds and ends: The Devils won last year’s state title, their first since back-to-back crowns in 2006-07. The 21 wins was the most in at least the last 24 years. ... Standouts Rachel Morrissey and Brianna Wojtas are playing at Plymouth State. ... New freshman coach Bruce Shainwald is a former coach in Andover. ... Former player Jill Tiner is focusing on basketball this year.

Assistants: Steve Visentin, JV

Coach John Roemer (2nd year, 21-1): “I think a lot of people are overlooking us because we graduated three all-state players. But we have a nice mix of veterans who played a lot last year because we were so deep and we have some talented younger players. Amanda Bickford and Olivia Burke should have real good years. I think we’re going to surprise people.”

Timberlane

2012 record: 14-6, lost in Division 1 quarters

Returning players (7): Christina Nye, Sr., 5-8, OH; Jane Buckley, Sr., 5-11, MH; Ginny Fagan, Sr., 5-6, libero; Hailey Lovett, Sr., 5-9, OH; Liv Harnois, Jr., 5-6, setter; Maggie Shields, Jr., 5-4, defense; Jessica Buckley, Soph., 6-0, OH

Promising newcomers: Lindsay Christensen, Sr., 5-4, defense; Madison Bishop, Jr., 5-9, MH; Shannon Matthews, Soph., 5-10, MH; Amy Freeman, Soph., 5-6, OH; Brook-Lynne Marcotte, Frosh., 5-5, setter

Candidates: 49

Captains: Christina Nye, Ginny Fagan, Jane Buckley

Assistants: Mike Nye, Katie Strey

Odds and ends: Last year, the Owls snapped a string of five straight losing seasons. The 14 wins equalled a program best for at least the last 21 seasons. ... Christina Nye and Madison Bishop were key players on last year’s Division 1 state softball championship team. ... Mike Nye, a former standout for the boys team, joins the staff as an assistant.

Sean Hogan (3rd year, 20-19): “We have a strong group with a nice balance of experience and youth. Christina Nye should be in the conversation for player of the year at the end of the season.”

Pelham

2012 record: 4-13, lost in Division 2 first round

Returning starters (3): Julia Barsalou, Sr., 5-3, defense; Kelsey Grimard, Jr., 5-2, defense; Alyssa Paradis, Jr., 5-5, OH

Returning lettermen: Alana Eshbach, Jr., 5-3, defense; Holly Joyce, Jr., 5-8, MH

Promising newcomers: Kaylie Apkarian, Sr. 5-3 setter; Lauryn Beauregard, Sr., 5-5 OH; Shannon Miller, 5-5, Sr., OH; Amanda Taylor, Sr., 5-1, OH; Morgan Apkarian, Jr., 5-7, OH; Amanda Olson, Soph., 5-10, MH; Megan Scalia, Jr., 5-6, setter; Lilia Owens, Soph., 5-6, MH

Candidates: 30

Captains: Julia Barsalou

Returning honorees: Kelsey Grimard, HM All-Division 2

Assistants: Caitlin Ahern

Odds and ends: Sisters Kaylie and Morgan Apkarian are transfers from Windham. ... Sophomore newcomer Amanda Olson, at 5-foot-10, gives the Pythons some needed height.

Jen Nugent (10th year, 41-110): “I’m hopeful. We have a decent nucleus and we picked up some nice experience with the sisters and good size with Olson.”

Windham

2012 record: 13-5, lost in Division 2 quarters

Returning starters (5): Melissa Cino, Sr., 5-6, setter; Hannah Scott, Jr., 5-5, libero; Talia Lombardo, Jr., 5-6, RH; Basie Bostic, Jr., 5-10, MH; Emiline Sundman, Jr., 5-8, MH

Returning lettermen: Lindsay Hillyer, Sr., 5-4, OH; Ali Connors, Jr., 5-5, OH; Sam Crichton, Jr., 5-6, OH

Promising newcomers: Casey Dinga, Frosh., 6-0, MH; Lexi Sawyer, Frosh., 5-9, OH; Katie Farrell, Frosh., 5-7, setter

Candidates: 35

Captains: TBA

Returning honorees: Melissa Cino, All-Division 2; Hannah Scott, HM All-Division 2

Assistants: Chris Baribeau, JV; Jeff Calvin, John Vaughn

Odds and ends: Freshmen Casey Dinga and Lexi Sawyer are excellent basketball players who should contribute from the start. .. Standout Melissa Cino, Ali Connors and Sam Crichton all played on the Division 3 state championship lacrosse team coached by head coach Jill Bartlett.

Coach Jill Bartlett (4th year, 36-18): “We have a good nucleus back and some great athletes so we’re expecting more this year. We want to make it to the third round of the state tournament and into the state championship game.”