Tomahawks get revenge against Devils

Dig. Set. Kill. Repeat.

That’s how it went for the Merrimack High School girls volleyball team as the Tomahawks pinned Salem to the mat early and kept the Blue Devils down as they swept Salem 3-0 last night. The game scores were 25-16, 25-12, 25-14, giving Merrimack a win over the team that knocked it out of the Division I semifinals a year ago.

Merrimack senior Jen Coffey turned Salem’s half of the court into her own personal bullet club, unleashing a game-high 19 kills to pace the Tomahawks. The Quinnipiac-bound Coffey added four aces and dug out 10 balls on defense.

“I thought they played very well,” Merrimack coach Tammy Lambrou said. “It was a team effort by everyone. We’re good at tracking down balls. Not many balls hit the floor on our side. (We) played relaxed, good volleyball.

“(Coffey’s) strong and she goes in with a force. She’s getting smarter and could do a lot of different things with the ball which makes her pretty dominant out there.”

Merrimack has seven players 5-9 or taller while Salem only had two, and the size difference became apparent early. Merrimack’s hitters were able to get above Salem’s blocks for most of the match and hit the ball cleanly to every part of the court.

Salem led all three games before the fourth point but got worn down by the Tomahawk attack. After the 25th point of each game the Tomahawks combined to outscore Salem 31-11. Merrimack finished the first game on a 6-0 run, the second game on 10-1 run, and the third game on 7-1 run.

Elise Jolly led a stable of young players who helped keep the Tomahawks rolling forward. Jolly had five kills and five digs while fellow sophomore Lianna Klinger had a productive game at the Libero position with nine digs. Junior setter Jo Coffey was the excellence of execution as she kept the ball where it needed to be with 26 assists.

“If it doesn’t go where it’s supposed to go I know Jo will get it,” Lambrou said. “Jo does a great job as a setter. Sometimes setters don’t get the
recognition, but she does a great job for this team.”

The 6-3 Jolly was a force at the net with 10 blocks as Salem couldn’t find a way around her.

“I just can’t wait for her to be a senior so I can come back and watch her bang balls all day long,” Coffey said of Jolly.

Seniors Caitlyn Paulson and Tayla Schipilliti helped keep the motor going for Merrimack. Paulson had eight digs and three assists, and Schipilliti had five kills.