Pinkerton senior Ella Dandrade may have been the best setter in New Hampshire this fall, but you’d never know it.
The 5-foot-7 Dandrade, this year’s Eagle-Tribune MVP, has spent most of her career, in club volleyball and with the Astros, as a setter, with one year as a libero. But her talents were needed elsewhere this year and she didn’t hesitate a bit when coach Todd Royce asked her to switch to outside hitter for the betterment of the team.
“I consider setter as being my primary position and I do prefer it, but I like all the positions,” said Dandrade, a two-year captain from Auburn, N.H.. “I just love volleyball and I like the team aspect of it. Of all the sports, I think it’s the most team oriented.”
Dandrade displayed her versatile talents this year in leading the Astros to a 16-2 regular season and the No. 3 seed in the tournament. A first team all-state selection, she led the team in kills, service points and digs, becoming the second player in Pinkerton history to break the 1,000 mark for digs in her career.
If there was something that needed to be done for the team, Dandrade was up for the challenge.
Said Royce: “She is the type of player who will do anything to win. In one game, she literally dove head first into the bleachers to get a ball up that we would eventually get the point on. ... She is the most versatile player I have ever coached.”
Dandrade shows the same kind of drive academically. A Moynihan Scholar-Athlete winner for September, in addition to a combined SAT score of 1450, she sports a 4.1 GPA and is ranked 12th in her class of 800 students. And, at the same time, she is active on the student council, anxious to help her fellow students.
She is currently undecided on her college destination with Dartmouth, UVM, Tufts, UNH and WPI her top choices.
Andover Sr., Middle Hitter
Missed freshman and sophomore seasons with broken fingers, then a broken foot. Started as junior, came on strong this year. Led Merrimack Valley Conference with 229 kills, added 35 blocks and 89 digs. Against Division 2 North champ Danvers, had 21 kills and 4 blocks. Plays on EVO National Travel team. Moved from Miami in 5th grade. Competitive dancer until age 16. Plans on majoring in kinesiology in college (undecided) and continue playing volleyball.
Central Sr., Middle Hitter
First team All-Merrimack Valley Conference. MVC Player of the Year finalist. Had 192 kills, surpassed 500 kills for her career. Had 17 kills in great quarterfinal match with state finalist Winchester. Also had 66 blocks. Headed to Western New England College, will play volleyball there. Plays for Mill City in offseason. Member of gold medal Bay State Games team. Older brother Aaron a former standout athlete at Central in basketball and baseball.
Haverhill Jr., Outside Hitter
Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. All-Merrimack Valley Conference. One of top all-around players in region, can play any position. Finished season with 177 kills, 230 digs, 286 service received. At her best in big games. “She has a very competitive spirit,” said coach Vincent Pettis. Comes from a volleyball family. Her mother, Ada Colon-Burdier, is a former Lawrence standout and assistant at Haverhill. Sister Kya is team’s sophomore setter. Also plays basketball.
Haverhill Sr., Outside Hitter
All-Merrimack Valley Conference. Max Preps Player of the Week in September. Repeat Eagle-Tribune All-Star. Led 18-3 Hillies with 217 kills, also had 143 digs and 186 serves received. Year-round player, has traveled to tournaments in Dominican Republic.. Father Marino the head coach at Lawrence High, sister Marletti a Lawrence assistant. Great team player. Has great empathy for others. Wants to get into nursing.
Lawrence Sr., Setter
Heart and soul of Lawrence team that played in Division 1 state semifinals finals in 2018, advanced to North finals this year. All-Merrimack Valley Conference First Team for second straight year and Player of Year this fall. “She’s one of the five best I’ve coached or coached against,” said Lawrence Coach Marino Valdez, through an interpreter. “She is a complete player. But as a setter, there’s none better in this state.”
Methuen Sr., Setter
Team co-captain. Led the Rangers with 501 assists, had more than 800 assists in the last two years. Also had 194 digs and impressive 98.5% serving percentage. “There’s no one I saw this season I’d rather have running our offense than Kate,” said coach Matt Twomey. “Many of the officials complimented her throughout the season.” Terrific student, ranked 15th in class with 4.3 GPA. Hopes to play volleyball in college, major in nursing.
North Andover Sr., Libero
Three-time all-MVC first team. Division 1 All-State selection. Finished season with 413 digs. Finished great career with 1,185 digs. Also had 332 service receptions and 36 aces. Tri-captain and popular leader. Follows in footsteps of sisters Sarah (NAHS ‘19) and Kathryn (NAHS ‘17), both of whom stood out for the Knights and now play at Norwich University, where Laura will join them next year. Mother (Cheryl Farnum) grew up playing volleyball in Dayton, Ohio.
Salem Sr., Middle Hitter
Offensive leader for Blue Devils. Led team with 260 kills, also had 25 blocks. Had close to 600 kills for career. Strong server, finished season with 50 aces. Complete player, had 107 digs. First team all-state. Plays for Lattitude 42 with teammate and good friend Kacie Blanchet, Salem’s talented setter. Strong student with 3.9 GPA, ranked 29th in class of 280. Being recruited for volleyball, wants to study marketing in college.
Timberlane Sr., Outside Hitter
Led the Owls in kills as well as digs (263). Consistent server, had 39 aces. Strong all-around player. Captain helped Owls return to tournament. Three-year starter, got better every year. President of National Honor Society. Moynihan Scholar-Athlete for September. Ranked 6th academically in class of 293. Looking at Boston College and Northeastern, wants to major in biology.