All of Division I volleyball still chasing Cavaliers

Staff photo by TOM KING The Hollis Brookline girls volleyball team celebrates its Divison I title on Saturday night.

At what point is the word

“Dynasty” in play?

When you are talking New Hampshire high school girls volleyball and Hollis Brookline High School, that question is old news. The Cavalier girls open the 2018 season riding a 33-match win streak. The seniors in the program have never “not won” a state title, with the streak now at three straight championships, four in Division I and seven overall since the program began under coach Becky Balfour in 2000.

And Hollis Brookline is again loaded for bear with reigning Gatorade and Telegraph Player of the Year Maddie Norris, who has already committed to the Division I University of North Florida, and a handful of other returning starters, several with scholarship potential.

Among the challengers, Bishop Guertin has to be considered a rising power in the game, charging into the championship match a year ago and returning six starters from that bunch.

Nashua South again features one of the most dynamic talents in the state in Kara Kelliher, who helped the Panthers to the state semis a year ago. North reached the postseason in 2017 and looks to take it a step further, while Merrimack continues to build on a daily basis.

Second-year Souhegan coach Amanda Ouellette liked the strides her team made.

Plenty of talent has returned for a squad that again matters in Division II.

“We completed our goal from having a 5-11 record in 2016, to finishing a respectable 9-7 record in 2017, making the playoffs for the first time in five years,” said Ouellette.

Milford was a semifinalist in Division II and again looks to play the part of a contender.

Another contender is Campbell in Division III, which reached the state semis in 2017.

“We are extremely lucky to have Liv Garand and Meghan Gibbons, who went to the semis last year and want more for this team,” said coach Melissa Miner. “Our end goal is the finals.”

DIVISION I

Bishop Guertin

COACH: Abby Savard

2017: 18-4, Division I state runner-up

RETURNING STARTERS: Julia Pascucci, sr., setter/opposite; Alicia Glasheen, jr., setter; Rita Dow, sr., middle hitter; Paola Matos, sr., libero; Elizabeth Knapp, jr., outside hitter; Rachel Crowell, sr., middle hitter/opposite

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Madison Keating, soph., outside hitter

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Emma Charron, soph., defense; Lydia Litvak, jr., middle hitter/opposite; Kristen Coumas, jr., defense/setter/outside hitter

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” – Sivananda

Hollis Brookline High

COACH: Becky Balfour, 18th year

2017: 21-0, Division I state champion

RETURNING STARTERS: Maddie Norris, sr., outside hitter; Kyra Belden, sr., setter; Liz Atkinson, sr., right side; Natalie Cook, sr., middle hitter; Sammie Sheppard, jr., libero; Kaleigh Whalen, jr., outside hitter; Maren Anderson, jr., middle hitter

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Brodie Kelley, sr., right side; Ellie Jordan, jr., libero; Elizabeth Bonnette, jr., outside hitter; Amanda Elvins, sr., hitter; Ashley Burtt, sr., middle hitter

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Angelina Leonard, soph., setter; Hanna Close, soph., outside hitter

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We are looking forward to making another run at the Division I title this fall. We have an experienced group of junior and senior veterans who have been playing together for quite some time … some since elementary school. A few promising newcomers round out our team for this fall.”

Merrimack

COACH: Tammy Lambrou, 20th season

2017: 3-15

RETURNING STARTERS: Anna Niezrecki, jr., outside hitter/libero; Joanne Bonner, sr., outside hitter; Isabella Smith, soph., setter/right side; Angeline Mayville, sr., middle hitter/right side

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Johanna Koroma, jr., outside hitter/middle hitter; Nadia Hackney, jr., outside hitter; Haley Smethurst, soph., middle hitter/outside hitter

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Maddie Curran, jr., defense; Kaitlin McNicholas, jr., defense; Briana Jagjit, sr., defense/right side; Anya Carver, jr., outside hitter; Madisyn Schmanaki, sr., setter; Grace Lawton, frosh., middle hitter/outside hitter

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We are focusing on making today better than yesterday.”

Nashua North

COACH: Nicole Fitzgibbons

2017: Division 8-8, I first round

RETURNING STARTERS: Atlanta Ho, sr., outside hitter; Emerson Martin, sr., right side/setter; Sarah St. Pierre, sr., outside hitter; Haley Stanton, jr., right side

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Abby Coy, Jr. outside hitter; Alexis Miranda, jr., middle hitter

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Janessa Palmieri , sr., defense; Meaghan Valcourt, jr., setter; Jordyn Choate, soph., middle hitter; Hannah Martin, soph., outside hitter; Alyjah McHugh, soph., setter; Jamie Parker, soph., defense

COACH’S COMMENTS: “The team as a whole is excited for this season and is looking forward to what it will bring.”

Nashua South

COACH: Wayne Siejkowski

2017: 13-5, Division I state semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS: Anna Campbell, sr., setter; Brianna Henderson, sr., outside hitter; Kara Kelliher, jr., outside hitter; Paige Garland, jr., right side; Catherine Covert, jr., middle hitter

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Alissa Escobales, sr., middle hitter/right side; Cara Lecklider, jr., libero; Bailey Morin, jr., defense/libero

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Kaitlin Fitzgibbons, jr., setter, right side; Annie Brick, jr., middle hitter

COACH’S COMMENTS: “I am looking forward to this season. The attitude this season is great, and I think the players are ready for the season to start. Despite one of the best finishes in recent years they still feel as if there is more to accomplish. With a majority of players being returning starters we are excited to start playing.”

DIVISION II

Milford

COACH: Elizabeth Solan

2017: 15-3, Division II state semifinals

RETURNING STARTERS: Julia Guarniere, Isabel Philbrick, Emily Flaherty, Gabriella Monico, Robyn Krafft, Ava Chappell

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Kaydee Mann, Kailyn Chamberlin

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Stella Crosby, Lily Roberge, Emma Tronkowski

COACH’S COMMENTS: “We have many of the same players as we did last year with some strong new additions. We are excited as a team to see where this year will take us! Looking forward to seeing how we compete.”

Souhegan

COACH: Amanda Ouellette, second year

2017: 9-7, Division II first round

RETURNING STARTERS: Katie O’Brien, sr., outside hitter; Lila Morgan, sr., setter; Molly Driscoll, sr., middle hitter; Katerina Stuopis, soph., outside hitter; Lauren Adriaansen, jr., libero; Callie McBride, jr., defense; Valerie Brault, sr., right side

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Vivien Merryfield, sr., right side; Emma Vordenburg, sr., middle hitter; Ashleigh Brewster, sr., defense

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Allie McCall, soph., middle hitter; Hannah Carroll, soph., setter; Emma Sette, jr., defense/libero

COACH’S COMMENTS: “Souhegan volleyball plans to continue on from where we left off at the end of last season. We plan to keep the momentum we had going into playoffs and into this coming season. Now with two of the top teams moving up to Division I, I think Souhegan has the opportunity to make a name for itself as a contender in Division II.”

DIVISION III

Campbell

COACH: Melissa Miner

2017: 14-3, Division III state semifinalist

RETURNING STARTERS: Olivia Garand, sr., libero; Meghan Gibbons, outside hitter/defense

RETURNING LETTER WINNERS: Sophia Peguri, sr., defense; Julie McCrady, sr., outside hitter; Caedran Sullivan, jr., middle hitter; Jordan Kanaley, jr., setter; Mallory Reczko, jr., middle hitter; Lorelei Brown, jr., outside hitter; Alicia McKenna, jr., right side; Chloe Steiniger, soph., setter

PROMISING NEWCOMERS: Catherine Carignan, frosh., outside hitter

COACH’S COMMENTS: “I am super excited for this year’s team. We are not only talented, but I believe that mentally we are stronger than last year. We lost six great seniors, but we filled their positions with strong, talented players who have been working hard during the preseason.”