Two years ago, it was somewhat of an experiment.
Salem volleyball coach John Roemer decided to try 6-foot-2 Roman Fabrizio as a setter. He was already a promising middle hitter but, said Roemer, “I felt he needed to be on the court at all times. ... His volleyball IQ was growing every day and he wanted everyone to succeed.”
Well, that experiment proved to be a stroke of genius as Fabrizio showed this year, leading the Blue Devils to the state championship and earning Eagle-Tribune Player of the Year honors.
Fabrizio became a master setter, paving the way for points from big Ben Laycock, rising Alex Stift and Jackson Cain among others, while contributing to the team every way possible. He had a whopping 622 assists, but he also had an impressive 71 kills as a setter and 16 blocks while also showing great prowess as a server with 171 points that included 61 aces. He also chipped in with 72 digs.
“The progression he made in two years as a setter is amazing,” said Roemer. “He is one of the top setters in the state and does so much more.”
While uncertain about moving to setter, Fabrizio now loves the position.
“You have a big role on the court and you’re leading everything,” he said. “I’m probably the most vocal player out there and I like that.”
Fabrizio likes it so much that he committed to continue playing volleyball next year at Emmanuel College in Boston.
“I want to keep playing as long as I can. ... I love volleyball.”
Andover Sr., Outside Hitter
Made great stride forward as senior. First team All-MVC. Honorable mention All-State. Averaged 12 kills per match. Had impressive 26 kills in match against Methuen. “He had a phenomenal year and really led us,” said coach EJ Perry. Didn’t start playing until sophomore season. Member of Andover ski team. Headed to University of Vermont to study animal science. Had 3.86 GPA. Avid hiker. Climbs Mt. Washington yearly with father and older brother Max.
Central Catholic Soph., Setter
Reliable distributor for MVC champion Raiders. First team All-MVC. Member of North Regional District All-Stars. Lives in Salem, N.H. Started playing volleyball in 8th grade at Sacred Hearts. Plays for Mill City Volleyball Club. Follows U.S. national team. Also plays soccer for Raiders. Older brother Eric and father also played soccer and volleyball. Student Ambassador at Central.
Gr. Lawrence Sr., Middle Hitter
All-Around leader for Commonwealth Conference champion Reggies. CAC Player of the Year. Finished with 228 kills, whopping 167 blocks. Four-year starter. All-time school leader in kills, blocks and digs. Moved to Lawrence from Dominican Republic as 6-year-old. Transferred from Lawrence High after freshman year. Has played both middle hitter and outside hitter. Wants to be a firefighter.
Haverhill Soph., OH
Missed several games early with injury but still led team in passing, digs (207) and aces (44) and was second in kills (193). First team All-MVC. Led late season Haverhill upswing. Started as a freshman. Plays for Mill City Club. Younger brother Devon an incoming freshman volleyball player. Starting midfielder for soccer team. Enrolled at Classical Academy at high school. Enjoys biking.
Lawrence Sr., Outside Hitter
Dominating player for Lancers. After strong junior campaign, led team with whopping 363 kills. Also had 32 blocks, 163 digs and 34 aces. Plays much bigger than 5-foot-11 height. MVC Player of Year. Team captain. Former basketball player. Ran cross country as sophomore. Moved to Lawrence from the Bronx as a freshman. Headed for Eastern Nazarene College, will play volleyball and major in electrical engineering.
Pinkerton Sr., Outside Hitter
Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. First team All-State. Team leader. Powerful hitter for Astros, averaged 14 kills per match. All-around standout, led team in kills, service points, aces and digs. Derry resident. Started playing with dad as eighth grader. Plays for Mill City team out of Lowell. Former hoop player focused on volleyball. Honor roll student every term in high school. In top 10 percent of class.
Salem Sr., Outside Hitter
Made dramatic improvement in one year. Had 150 kills, 15 blocks, 56 digs, 103 service points and 11 aces. At his best in the clutch. First team All-State. Played in all-star game. “He worked really hard to being one of the top outsides in the state,” said coach John Roemer. “We saw games that he took over and could not be stopped.” Starter on defense for soccer team. Eagle Scout, did project to help elderly. Top student with 3.56 GPS. Headed to UNH.
Timberlane Jr., Libero
Former outside hitter had sensational year as libero. Named second team All-State. Finished with 369 digs. Consistent server, had 28 aces. Three-sport athlete. Main sport is soccer, also plays basketball. Played in Granite State Games for soccer. Plays for Timberwolves in offseason. Older brother Connor also a standout in soccer and volleyball and now plays soccer at Endicott College. Involved with Project Hope at Timberlane.
Windham Sr., middle hitter
Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. First-team All-New Hampshire. Led team in kills, blocks, aces and hitting percentages. Averaged more than 12 kills and 4 blocks per match. Most valuable player on state’s top seed going into tournament. Only regular season game he missed, team lost. Year-round player for Mill City club out of Lowell. Invited to USA Olympic Training camp. Played football as freshman, all volleyball since then. Sister Haley played for Windham girls team. Enjoys playing the drums.