Girls Volleyball 2023: Some new names, perhaps new results
There will be a new look to high school girls volleyball this year.
A lot of the talented, familiar names have graduated, and teams are looking to build new identities. But for Hollis Brookline, a three-time runnerup to Bedford, the identity they want is of a champion.
Will that happen? Let’s take a look, as there are questions all over the area:
The Cavaliers are likely tired of being bridesmaids, and the returning names are talented and familiar. Senior outside hitter Annette Schlunk is a four year varsity player, senior libero Mai Schneider is in her third year, and same for senior hitter Gwynn Thomas and junior hitter Maggie Noble. Junior setter Kate Berrigan is another returning starter.
“The team has a solid group of veteran upperclassmen with some talented newcomers,” HB coach Becky Balfour said.
The Cardinals are young as their key players are all juniors: Brooke Partridge (setter), Allison Marino (outside hitter), Veronica Gomez (libero), Akira Coravos (outside hitter), and Bella Nutting (defensive specialist).
“I’m very excited as we have a lot of young talent coming up through our program,” BG coach Kyle Clement said. “We lost some key pieces due to graduation, but I feel like we reloaded in a big way and we’re ready to compete at the highest level in the state.”
Nashua South hopes to get to that level by finishing matches, as the Panthers were 0-5 in the fifth set last season.
Key returners are junior outside hitter Mia Suljic, junior libero Molly Lecklider, senior outside hitter Paige Ouellete, senior setter Sophia Miranda, senior middle hitter Morgan Gillis, and junior right side hitter Hayleigh Hicks.
“We have a solid core of returning players,” Panthers coach Tom Langer said. “We’re looking forward to a strong season where we finish out games.”
The core of talent that made Nashua North a team to watch the last couple of years – last year the Titans won their first home playoff match – has, alas, graduated. This year is a young team, with just two seniors – Kailyn Sung and Summer St. Pierre. Other returners (there are just five) include juniors JoJo Desfosses and Taylor Joyal, plus sophomore Haley Maurhoff.
“We have a young team with five returning players and seven new prospects,” North coach Nicole Fitzgibbons said. “We have a lot to build on this year.”
There’s some optimism in Merrimack because of a solid nucleus of returning hitters Lily Petrocelli, Julia Bradley and Amelia Walker, plus setters Sam Lyna and Harley Twofoot. Add RachelFlett, Noor Eldeib and Sofia Vita to the mix and head coach Tammy Lambrou hasa good feeling.
“With this group we should make a run for the playoffs,” she said.
Alvirne has five returning seniors, including outside hitter Diana McElhinney and Petrino Ofori (middle hitter, both captains), setter Brianna O’Brien and senior hitter Cienna Clay. Defensively, senior libero Ruby Dionne sets the tone. Aside from them, the Broncos are young: three juniors, three sophomores and a freshman setter.
“If we stay focused, disciplined, and do the little things right, the big things will take care of themselves,” Alvirne coach Jason Lewis said.
Milford has been a steady local presence in this Division, and there’s really no reason to think that would change.
The Spartans had some young contributors who were eligible to return: sophomores Kassie Cupin (setter) and Poper Greenhalgh (hitter), junior hitter Abby Krulis, and senior setter Hannah Harrington.
The Campbell Cougars made strides in their second year in Division II last season and want to go even further. If they do, it’s likely senior eligible returnees Madison Bruner (middle-outside hitter) and Leann Ramos (Libero) will have a lot to do with it.
Souhegan had an unsettled year last season with a mid-season coaching change, etc. Key players eligible to return include senior setter Lina Carroll, plus juniors Reagan Pepin and Julia Colantuoni.