Boston High School: Volleyball

Snapshot: Latest early NLI signees

November, 17, 2014
11/17/14
7:52
PM ET
With the National Letter of Intent early signing period coming to a close this week, here are the latest signings across Massachusetts:

Volleyball: Newton North, Hopkinton, Frontier claim state titles

November, 16, 2014
11/16/14
12:04
AM ET
FITCHBURG, Mass. -- Newton North seemed to be heading down a road that was all-too-familiar. After reaching and falling in the Div. 1 Championship each of the last two years, the Tigers once again found themselves in familiar territory, trailing Andover 2-1 entering a potential clinching fourth set.

But rather than face defeat one last time, seniors Tess Simmons, Madeleine Lundberg and Kristin Copley rallied the rest of their Tigers team behind them and lead Newton North on a 15-1 run to capture a swift victory in the fourth set to force a deciding fifth game.

Riding the wave of momentum and taking advantage of a handful of unforced Golden Warrior errors, Newton North pulled through with a 15-10 victory, lifting two years of championship defeat off their shoulders.

“It's one of the most incredible feelings I’ve ever had,” Lundberg said. “To watch from the bench the last two years and watch the team fall apart and lose it’s a really hard feeling, I really feel for Andover because they played so well but to finally be on this side, words cannot describe how I feel.”

It was Lundberg’s block that clinched the Tigers Div. 1 title. Andover’s top-hitter Wyllie Boughton was set up for the kill but a well-timed leap from Lundberg sent the ball back over the net to seal the win.

“I think I went up and I could feel it hit my hands,” Lundberg recalled. “You know what is going to happen based on how it hits your hand. But it went off a wrist and it went down.”

Andover looked well-polished in the opening set, quickly down the Tigers 25-12 behind an impressive offensive performance from Boughton. The junior logged five kills in the opening set as the Golden Warriors raced out to a 9-1 lead and never looked back.

With the Golden Warriors threatening to run the Tigers out of the building early, Newton North gathered themselves and responded with a hard-fought 25-21 second set victory thanks in large part to a pair of aces down the stretch from Lundberg.

“Andover played the perfect game in that first set, they served everything, the dug everything, they blocked everything,” Tiger coach Richard Barton said. “No team can be that good. At some point we realized that they cant be that good.”

Tied at 18 in a pivotal third set, Andover used their defense and quickly turned it around into offense. Cece Root and Colleen Mullins along with Boughton shined down the stretch as Andover landed seven of the final 10 points to take the all-important 2-1 lead but never replicated that success in the final two sets.

“Confidence, we just lost our confidence,” Andover coach Jane Bergin said. “You know kids are kids and they are not at the college level where they haven’t had that success and haven’t been on this stage.”

While no one on the Andover team had reached the State Championship game, they have had plenty of experience on the big stage. Each of the last two years the Golden Warriors won the North Sectionals, just to fall short in the state semi-finals.

That extra bit of experience was the difference maker in the fourth and fifth sets as Barton’s Tigers stayed focused until the final block from Lundberg.

“It's so emotional but you can’t give out any emotion throughout the whole tournament until right now,” Barton said. “You can’t get excited, have to stay calm and keep everyone prepared but its such an accomplishment if you can keep your team centered and focused.”

Division 2: Hopkinton 3, Weston 0

Volleyball tends to be a game of runs, but in Saturday’s Div. 2 title game, all those runs went in favor of Hopkinton.

After both teams shook off early jitters, the Hillers put together three lengthy runs that ultimately topped the Wildcats in straight sets, capturing the Div. 2 title with 25-17, 25-22 and 25-14 victories.

With a senior-laden lineup, the Hillers were all in for a championship run this season. Hopkinton had failed to break through the ranks of the Div. 2 Central sectionals the last three years but this season had a special feel to it after the Hillers cruised through tournament play.

“I feel like we have been right on the brink of this moment for quite a few years and this year everything came together, Hopkinton coach Margie Grabmeier said. ”We had a lot of seniors on this team and it really does make a difference with senior leadership.”

Tied at nine early in the first set, the Hillers put together a 7-0 thanks in large part to Hanna Engstrom’s three aces from the service line. After an even exchange the rest of the way, Engstrom sealed the win with a kill, giving Hopkinton a 25-17 opening victory.

After failing to find any sort of rhythm in the opening set, Weston began to key their offensive game plan around sophomore Athena Ardila in the second set. The Wildcats opened up a 20-13 lead thanks to nine kills from Ardila but form that point on, nothing went in favor of Weston.

Unforced errors allowed the Hillers back into the game, while Holly Adams supplied the offense and Hopkinton unleashed a 12-2 win to stun the Wildcats and take a 25-22 win to grab a 2-0 lead.

“That’s the thing I’m most proud of,” Grabmeier said. “We can come back from a deficit even when were on the verge of potentially losing a game, the seniors know what they are doing. They don’t have the word “lose” in their vocabulary.”

After seeing their second set lead evaporate in front of their eyes in a must-win situation, Weston had little left in the third set. The Wildscate never strung together more than two consecutive points and the Hillers utilized a 15-1 run and quickly downed the Wildcats to clinch the Div. 2 title.

“Every single player, on the court and off contributed and we feed off the fans,” Adams said. “Everyone put in 100 percent today.”

Weston had no answer for Adams’ offensive production as the senior captain notched 13 kills in the win but was a force on both side of the ball.

“Over six feet of hitting power for one thing but she’s a complete package, Grabmeider said. “That’s why she’s all-league MVP and all-state player.”

Division 3: Frontier 3, Case 1

Frontier coach Sean MacDonald and his Redhawks were gunning for their fifth consecutive Division 3 title, but win or lose he figured he was playing with “house money.”

The Redhawks survived a five-set scare in Thursday’s state semifinal win over Lynnfield, fending off five-consecutive match points to advance to the title game.

“Whether we deserve to be here or not, we probably don’t after Thursday but we are here,” MacDonald said. “We’ve been given a second chance and we are going to make the most of it. It felt like we we’re playing with a free roll and house money so lets make the best of it.”

Saturday’s state championship victory was much easier on the nerves of Frontier, as they took the final two sets 25-14 and 25-17 to clinch a ring for the thumb.

Cassidy Ciesluk was instrumental in the Redhawks victory, tallying 14 kills in the win, leading the charge early in the clinching fourth set with four quick kills as Frontier built an early 12-3 lead.

“We knew that we could win that set, we didn’t want to go into a fifth one,” Ciesluk said. “We wanted to show people that we could win and show we could five peat.”

After a back-and-forth battle to begin the first set, the Redhawks found their rhythm and built up a 22-8 lead. Case refused to go quietly however, notching 10 of the game’s final 13 points but ultimately fell to Frontier 25-18.

That momentum carried over to the second set for Case, as they overcame an early five-point deficit and behind an excellent offensive performance from Kaitlyn Kopecky, captured the second set 25-22.

“It was huge, I think that is a testament of our mental strength to be down that much in the first set and come back and win the second,” Case first year coach Michaela Goncalves said. “Any team could have crumbled after that.”

With the match deadlocked at 1-1, MacDonald was confident with his team moving forward as long as they cleaned up their play.

“We made 12, 13, 14 errors in that second set and we only lost by three so I said guys if we cut them in half we win. Lets just serve the ball and play.”

Frontier did just that, putting forth their best effort of the day and closing the set on an 11-2 run to take the pivotal third set.

Case battled back from another early deficit in the fourth set, but a pair of aces from Remi Quesnelle with the game tied at four launched Frontier ahead for the final time, closing the book on their fifth title.

“It never gets old,” MacDonald said. “Everyone talks about winning five in a row, but these teams are different so it’s a whole different thing every year.”

Snapshot: Thursday's NLI early signees

November, 13, 2014
11/13/14
9:29
PM ET
Yesterday, the one-week National Letter of Intent early signing period began. Today and tonight, we had some more ceremonies honoring student-athletes accepting athletic scholarships.

Here are some of the best moments from today:



Volleyball State Final: Newton South 3, Agawam 0

June, 14, 2014
6/14/14
12:40
AM ET
HUDSON, Mass. -- Newton South junior Jonathan Lee isn't the most intimidating playing when he stands next to the net, measuring in at 5-foot-8.

But when he takes off for an attack, his 32-inch vertical leap changes everything.

Lee had a team-high 13 kills and Newton South swept Agawam, 3-0, to win the 2014 MIAA Boys Volleyball State Finals and complete a perfect 25-0 season. It was a sweep for the Lions but all games were close - 25-20, 25-23 and 27-25.

"I'm still pinching myself," Newton South head coach Todd Elwell said. "It feels like a dream."

In the first game, Lee set the tone early -- and often -- for the Lions. Admittedly, he wasn't one of the ten tallest people on the court but that didn't stop him from making his mark. Agawam started the game with an service error - something that haunted them throughout - and the Lions were off. Lee rattled off four kills in five points, including three in a row capped with a block kill, to give Newton South an early 6-3 lead.

The lead was never was greater than five for South in the first game and Agawam even battled back to tie it at 16-16 and 17-17. But three errors from the Brownies, an ace from South setter Jared Chin and a pair of kills from Michael Horenstein gave the Lions a six-point lead at 23-17.

Agawam got two points back before Philip Levine-Caleb put South within one. A kill from Agawam's talented middle Wade Robidoux kept the Brownies alive for a moment, but on the next play, Lee slammed his game-high fifth kill to take game one.

"I'm ecstatic," Lee said, just moments after clinching the state title. "Everything feels surreal right now. I would not believe that we would have made it to the state finals but we just played every match one and at a time."

Game two was much tighter and turned into a tale of errors. The Brownies jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead but that didn't deter the Lions, who rallied to eventually tie the game at nine. After the tie at nine, the teams were even seven more times at 10, 11, 13, 17, 21, 22 and 23. It was Newton South that continued to go ahead after breaks but the Brownies were resilient, tying it every time -- or almost every time.

With the game knotted at 23, Agawam committed their ninth error of game two alone but touching the net. On game point, Newton South junior Tomer Keren's fast-paced serve was tough to handle for Agawam, as it popped back up in the air coming back to Newton South's side. But Lee timed it perfectly and swung through, making full contact for his third kill of game two to win the game, 25-23, and give the Lions a 2-0 lead.

"We had a couple of big matches coming in here in our sectional final and the semifinal," Elwell said, "They both were five setters, one we were up two and one we were down two, so if it was going to go more sets, we were emotionally ready."

For the majority of game three, Agawam -- with their backs against the wall -- were in control and a fourth game looked likely. The teams traded points for the first 20 points of the game before the Brownies were able to create some separation behind the hot hand of outside hitter Bailey Cecchi (game-high 18 kills).

Cecchi rattled off three straight kills midway through the game, a block kill from Jeff LeClerc and then an ace from Zach Goggin gave the Brownies their largest lead of the whole match at 18-12.

But down eight, the Lions didn't falter. They had already used both of their timeouts for game three so Elwell was forced to communicate with his players between points.

"I do a lot of communicating while the game was going on," Elwell said. "I told them that they were playing for momentum. I told them to play one point to the next and thankfully they picked themselves up. There was a hiccup in there and then we started passing a little better and made some better plays so they showed some perseverance."

An error from both sides made the score 19-13 in favor of Agawam, but that's when the Lions roared back. The next three points were all errors - two from the Brownies and one from Newton South. But a big ace from Lee titled the momentum pendulum in favor of Newton South. Back-to-back kills from Joe Esbenshade and Levine-Caleb, an Agawam hitting error and then a combo block kill from Lee and Levine-Caleb brought the Lions within one at 21-20.

Agawam's Ben Cassidy came up with a big block kill to put the lead back to two but another service error hurt the Brownies. Cecchi pounded home a kill for Agawam to take a 23-21 lead but yet again, it was a serving error that brought the Lions back within one. Newton South tied things up via Lee, on an assist from Chin (28 total assists) before the Lions were called for being in the net, to go down 24-23.

"When we all huddled up we were just talking about getting one point at a time and we can't let up," Lee said. "We came all this way and we wanted to make it worth something. We just get each other up and kept talking to each other."

On game point in the third game for Agawam, it was Lee yet again that used his crazy vertical jump to leap up and slam down a kill to tie the game at 24. Cecchi responded with a kill on an assist from Goggin to get another chance at game point, but the next three points will give the Brownies nightmares.

The Brownies were called for being in the net to tie the game at 25, committed a hitting error to give Newton South a 26-25 lead and then were called for being in the net yet again - their 15th error of game three alone - and the Lions took the game 27-25 and the match 3-0.

"We came in with the right frame of mind, but once we got here I thought we weren't mentally prepared," Agawam head coach Patricia Demers said. "We were physically prepared but there was a little bit of confusion for some of the guy's job descriptions on the court. They needed to talk a little bit more on the court. Unfortunately, when they got a good kill, they celebrate instead of getting back in the game. They have what it takes, just not tonight."

It was a storybook ending for the Lions, who weren't perfect in early season tournament play, but took care of business in the regular season and the playoffs. They only returned two starters from last season -- Chin and Esbenshade -- and battled back from a 2-0 deficit earlier in the playoffs.

"No," Elwell admitted when asked if he thought his team would go undefeated and win a state title. "I knew we would be pretty good but I knew we needed to get a little better each day and each week and then it would roll on its own. As long as we learned from our mistakes and kept our head up, we'd be fine. We didn't want to pull a Patriots and go undefeated in the season and then lose in the finals. I'm so proud of the guys, it was an amazing season."

FRUSTRATING END FOR AGAWAM, DEMERS CLEAR ON FUTURE PLANS

Agawam finished the season 20-3 and were declined a chance at repeating as state champions after winning last year. It was a frustrating end for the Brownies, who ended up committing 32 errors total in three games.

"I said to them 'Number one, you have to stay out of the net. Number two, you have to serve the ball.' It's the two easiest things to do."

Demers admitted Cecchi's kills in the third game helped the Brownies stay afloat, but was quick to point out their block coverage for him was weak. She also credited this season class -- six of them -- for cementing their legacy in the 16-year history of the program.

"It's very strong," she said. "They're very well known, they're liked. They have some strengths and they've helped the younger guys coming up."

The loss was clearly painful for the players and Demers, but that didn't change how sharp the 82-year-old was post-game, answering the question about her future without any hesitation.

"Yeah, I plan on coming back next year," she said with a smile. "People keep saying that they hear I'm retiring and I ask them if they know something I don't know. I started this program and I'm not going to give up until I've coached 20 years."

When asked if she knew if she was the oldest coach in the entire state over any sport, she was quick to answer that, too.

"I don't know, I hope they are some more gutsy people out there."
Tags:

Volleyball

The team at Mass. Boys High School Volleyball, which covers boys volleyball across the state, released its latest statewide Top 25 poll this morning. For more details, visit their website: massbhsvb.webs.com

Agawam, last year's MIAA state champion and the preseason No. 1 in the land, holds on to the top spot in this week's poll:

Team | Record | Last Week
1. Agawam | (3-0) | 1
2. Needham | (5-0) | 2
3. Newton South | (4-0) | 3
4. Chicopee Comp | (2-0) | 4
5. Lawrence | (2-1) | 5
6. Wellesley | (3-0) | 6
7. Chelmsford | (1-0) | 7
8. Haverhill | (2-0) | 9
9. Milford | (2-1) | 8
10. Newton North | (2-0) | 11
11. Westfield | (2-1) | 12
12. Xaverian | (4-0) | 13
13. Framingham | (2-2) | 10
14. St. John’s Prep | (4-0) | 15
15. Barnstable | (3-0) | 17
16. Andover | (0-2) | 18
17. Norwood | (3-1) | 14
18. Greater New Bedford | (3-0) | 21
19. Acton-Boxborough | (3-0) | NR
20. Ludlow | (4-0) | 23
21. Natick | (2-0) | 25
22. Holyoke | (0-2) | 16
23. Cambridge | (3-1) | 22
24. Millis | (4-0) | NR
25. Lexington | (3-0) | NR

Dropped out: No. 19 Medfield, No. 20 Sabis, No. 24 Wachusett
Tags:

Volleyball

Volleyball: Barnstable, NDA, Frontier take state titles

November, 16, 2013
11/16/13
10:36
PM ET
NORTHBOROUGH, Mass. -- At the end of that day, there can only be one team standing. And for 10 of the last 11 years, and the fourth consecutive year, it has been the Barnstable Red Raiders. A true decade of dominance.

And the way the Red Raiders are playing right now, it looks as if they are set for a century of dominance.

The scene is all too familiar for Barnstable coach Tom Turco. Clear his schedule for the middle of November, because he has a trophy to hoist. It’s almost become as regular as an annual family reunion.

[+] EnlargeBarnstable volleyball
Phil Garceau for ESPNBoston.comBarnstable beat Newton North in straight sets to capture its 10th Division 1 girls volleyball title in 11 years.
From start to finish, the Red Raiders were quicker, stronger and faster than Newton North, winning in straight sets 25-10, 25-15 and 25-11, capping off a perfect finish to one of the more dominant seasons in recent memory.

Sure, a 23-0 season is pretty impressive. But the Red Raiders took it a step beyond that. Barnstable played a total of 73 sets this season and won 69 of them. Twenty of their wins came via a 3-0 victory, including every match this postseason. Twice they were pushed to a fourth set and only one time did a match go five sets.

“It feels sweet," Turco said following his fourth straight championship season. “These girls go out on a limb, set their goals really high and they sacrifice, they work and they stuck together out there and I’m really happy for them.”

This Barnstable team was not the same as we’ve come to expect from the Red Raiders. This team takes their defense and turns it into offense. They don’t allow the ball to hit the ground and transition quickly from defense to offense. Once they are set up, they don’t attack through the middle, which the Raiders have done for years, and instead attack from the outside.

“”Barnstable forever, we’ve been attacking from the middle, 90 percent of our hits come from the middle,” said Turco. “This year we kept Hannah [Andres] and [Ciara] Bruning on the outside and we knew we had to quicken it up. The quicker you can get the attack off, the less time the defense has and the block has to set up.”

Seniors Bruning and Andres couldn’t be contained on the Barnstable front line. Sophomore Madison Sollows added a third dimension to Raiders attack for which the Tigers had no answer.

“I give all the credit to Barnstable,” Tigers coach Richard Barton said. “It was very cool to watch them play, uncool to be the team losing to them, but we played fine and got nothing out of it."

Three of these Red Raiders, from the time they were freshmen up until Saturday night, were on the floor for each of the four championships. Stephanie Martin, Holly Wilson and Andres saw all four and Martin saw something special about this group of players.

“This team, we’re closer and we spend more time together and we work hard on the court. We bond more off court and on court and it brings the team together.”

The Red Raiders wasted no time establishing themselves as the dominant team, grabbing a 12-1 lead to begin the game. Three times in the opening set the Raiders made runs of six points.

Barnstable got off to anther hot stat in the second set, jumping out to a 15-6 lead before the Panthers, led by Infiniti Thomas-Waheed, found a bit of a rhythm. Newton North lost, 25-15, but matched Barnstable every point for the remainder of the set giving them hope for the third set.

The first eight points were evenly split before Barnstable went on a dominant 11-0 run, giving themselves a 15-4 and a championship coming into sight.

“This is why they’re different this year,” said Barton. “They attack every ball that came over. They’re steadier in every regard. They run offense from all positions instead of the middle, they pass better, nothing hits the floor.”

Junior setter Olivia Brodt set the ball up for all of her hitters, leaving the Tigers defense guessing.

“[Brodt] came into camp in unbelievable physical condition,” Turco explained. “She worked for this and wasn’t going to be denied.”

D2: Notre Dame Hingham 3, Westborough 2
Holding a 18-12 lead and momentum at their backs, Notre Dame Academy had the Division two championship in their sights.

What they weren’t counting on was a Westborough team that refused to give up. The Rangers went on a 15-7 run to force a deciding game five, setting the stage for Notre Dame Academy’s Julia Flynn.

With a championship on the line in a winner take all set, it was only fitting for the senior hitter led her team to claim the state title, just as she had all season.

After a nail-biting back-and-forth battle all afternoon, it was the Cougars that prevailed in the fifth set, taking it 15-12 in front of a capacity crowd at Algonquin High School.

“It was a very very big opportunity for these young women to step up into a moment that big,” Cougars coach Joshua Sheperd said. “After having a lead and letting it slip away in game four, to recapture it and move forward.”

“We had some inspired volleyball tonight. We saw Julia [Flynn] be as advertised both in the front row and back row. Moments carrying her team, and showing them the strength when they needed it."

Trailing 14-12 in the final set, Westborough got what they wanted. A perfect set to Samantha Kehoe, who had carried the Rangers all game. The senior hitter wound up, but a perfectly timed jump from Notre Dame’s Casey Thorbahn blocked Kehoe’s hit and bounced back into play for the championship point.

“Sam did exactly what I told her to do on the last hit,” said Rangers coach Roger Anderson. “I told her to go up and rip it and she did. And I’m so proud of her for that. She got us here and if we’re going to go down, we’re going to go down swinging.”

Notre Dame saw some excellent defense from senior Megan Barrett, but the story of the game was the emergence of sophomore Avery Spaziani. And what better place to make a name for yourself than the state championship game.

“We saw inspired defense from our other captain Meg Barrett,” Shepherd said. “We saw an unbelievable dawning of a new player in Avery Spazeroni tonight. She came to play and played the game with heart that was very admirable.”

With time running out on their season, Westborough seemed to bury themselves in too deep of a hole. In the fourth set, already trailing two sets to one they found themselves down 18-12.

An ace from Kehoe, kills from Maria Hession and Julia Arsenault and a couple of fortunate bounces tied the game at 18 and sent the massive Ranger student section into a state pandemonium.

The teams exchanged points up until 25, where a long serve and a bad hit from Notre Dame sent the game into a fifth set.

“That comeback was built on playing a schedule that is really tough and being in battles all year long,” Anderson said of his team in the fourth set. “We don’t relent to anyone. You can knock us down but we’re going to keep coming back.”

Every match was a closely contended game. In the second match neither team strung together more than two consecutive points until Westborough put together a four-point run to take a 20-15 lead. The Rangers went on to win that set 25-18.

“They sent us a message earlier in the year saying Westborough is for real and we’re going to come with it and they did,” said Shepherd. “They came as advertised.”

Notre Dame took a close first set 25-20, with Julia Marshall sealing the win with an ace, and capping a 5-0 run to close. The Cougars also took the third set 25-18, using a 6-0 down the stretch.

D3: Frontier 3, Fairhaven 1
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Red Hawks. After three consecutive state championships, Frontier lost their star hitter Cassidy Stankowski to graduation, leaving a gaping hole as their team’s leading hitter.

With a new philosophy this year, Frontier had no trouble running the Division 3 tournament this season for their fourth title in as many years.

“It's really special to win when you don’t have an all American on your team,” Frontier coach Sean MacDonald said following the game. “They wanted to show that Frontier volleyball isn’t just Cassidy Stankowski.

“We had that cannon last year, and now we have a bunch of little guns all over the place shooting at you, so we’re a little less predictable.”

After weathering off a ferocious Fairhaven rally in the fourth set, Sarah Woodward clinched the championship with an ace, giving the Red Hawks a 25-22 edge.

The Blue Devils fell behind 20-15 after a 5-0 run from Frontier. The Blue Devils responded with a strong run of their own, but their rally to force a deciding fifth game fell just short and were forced watched the Red Hawks receive the division three championship trophy.

“I thought Fairhaven played pretty well in that set,” said MacDonald. “A couple fluky things and its like okay, things aren’t going our way this set. But we didn’t come in here expecting to sweep Fairhaven.”

After a back-and-forth battle to being the first set, Frontier ended on a 9-3 run, with Cassidy Ciesluk putting the exclamation point on the win with the final kill to give the Red Hawks the all important 25-20 first set victory.

A balanced Red Hawk attack in the second set kept the Blue Devils searching for answers. The Blue Devils offense also had a tough time, as they struggled to find any rhythm. Farihaven never strung together more than two consecutive points in a lopsided 25-15 loss, setting up Frontier with a quick 2-0 lead.

“A lot of it was they needed to relax and they couldn’t get themselves to relax and play their game,” Fairhaven coach Karen Arsenault said. “I don’t think they really did relax, ever, and just play how I’ve seen them play.”

It looked as if Fairhaven was on their way to being swept, falling behind 5-2 and 15-11 and still looking for answers on their offense.

With their backs against the wall, senior Mariah Nicholas led her team back with five kills and a block in final stretch and Fairhaven went on to win 25-20.

“They’ve had this resilience all year,” said Arsenault. “We’ve come back all season, we came back in the semifinals. I knew they could do that, it was just a matter of would it be enough and unfortunately it wasn’t.”

“They had a much quicker game, way quicker game than the semifinal game. They had a lot of go to people and ran a really clean offense. We don’t normally see that. Probably the best team we’ve played all year.“

With Frontier only losing three players to graduation, they look primed to make another run in 2014.

“We have a lot coming back,” said MacDonald. “I feel good moving forward."

Thursday MIAA tournament scoreboard

November, 7, 2013
11/07/13
11:19
PM ET
BOYS’ SOCCER
DIVISION 1 NORTH
St. John’s Prep 1, Madison Park 0 (OT)
Somerville 3, Malden 0

DIVISION 1 SOUTH
Needham 3, BC High 0
Silver Lake 5, New Bedford 0

DIVISION 2 SOUTH
Oliver Ames 2, Hingham 1
Walpole 2, Pembroke 0

DIVISION 4 SOUTH
Cohasset 2, West Bridgewater 0
Sacred Heart 1, Abington 0

GIRLS’ SOCCER
DIVISION 1 SOUTH
Bishop Feehan 1, Walpole 0 (OT)
Franklin 2, Needham 0

DIVISION 2 SOUTH
Notre Dame 3, Dartmouth 2
Scituate 1, Sandwich 0

DIVISION 4 SOUTH
East Bridgewater 1, West Bridgewater 0
Ursuline 1, Rockland 0

DIVISION 4 NORTH
Austin Prep 3, Winthrop 0
Georgetown 6, Maimonides 0

VOLLEYBALL
DIVISION 1 NORTH
Andover 3, North Andover 1

DIVISION 1 SOUTH
Barnstable 3, Bishop Feehan 0
New Bedford 3, Mansfield 1

DIVISION 1 CENTRAL WEST
Lincoln-Sudbury 3, Algonquin 2
Concord-Carlisle 3, Natick 1

DIVISION 2 NORTH
Bishop Fenwick 3, Arlington Catholic 1
Melrose 3, Bedford 0

DIVISION 2 SOUTH
Duxbury 3, Bishop Stang 0

DIVISION 2 CENTRAL
Canton 3, Hopkinton 1
Westborough 3, Medfield 2

DIVISION 3 NORTH
Lynnfield 3, Mystic Valley 1

DIVISION 3 SOUTH
Case 3, Fontbonne Academy 1
Fairhaven 3, Archbishop Williams 0

DIVISION 3 CENTRAL
Blackstone Valley Tech 3, Tri-County 1
Sutton 3, Marian 0

Wednesday MIAA tournament scoreboard

November, 6, 2013
11/06/13
11:18
PM ET
BOYS’ SOCCER

DIVISION 2 NORTH
Concord-Carlisle 5, Beverly 0
North Andover 1, Belmont 0

DIVISION 3 NORTH
Bedford 1, Wilmington 0
Watertown 1, North Reading 0 (OT)

DIVISION 3 SOUTH
Medway 2, Martha’s Vineyard 1 (OT)
Norwell 1, Holliston 0 (PK)

DIVISION 4 NORTH
Georgetown 4, Lowell Catholic 1
Hamilton-Wenham 3, St. Mary’s (Lynn) 1

GIRLS’ SOCCER

DIVISION 3 NORTH
Lynnfield 4, Triton 0
Newburyport 3, Hamilton-Wenham 0

DIVISION 3 SOUTH
Cardinal Spellman 2, Hanover 0
Dedham 2, Bishop Stang 1 (PK)

FIELD HOCKEY

DIVISION 1 NORTH
Acton-Boxborough 1, Beverly 0 (OT)

DIVISION 1 SOUTH
Duxbury 3, Notre Dame (Hingham) 0
Walpole 1, Dennis-Yarmouth 0

DIVISION 2 NORTH
Manchester-Essex 2, Ipswich 1

DIVISION 2 SOUTH
Apponequet 3, Cohasset 1
Dover-Sherborn 3, Medway 2 (OT)

VOLLEYBALL

DIVISION 1 NORTH
Haverhill 3, Peabody 0

DIVISION 1 CENTRAL EAST
Newton North 3, Brookline 2
North Quincy 3, King Philip 2

DIVISION 3 NORTH
Notre Dame 3, Pope John 0

DIVISION 3 WEST
Frontier Reginal 3, Lee 0

St. Mary's announces new volleyball coach

August, 27, 2013
8/27/13
3:38
PM ET
St. Mary's of Lynn announced the hiring of Erin Menard as its new girls volleyball coach this afternoon. Below is the official press release, courtesy of Paul Halloran:



As the new volleyball coach at St. Mary's High School in Lynn, Erin (Kozul) Menard is in the process of getting to know the 51 players who showed up for tryouts. She is already familiar with the Spartans' Catholic Central League foes, having been one of them as a player and coach.

Menard was a standout player at Arlington Catholic (Class of 1999) who went on to play one year at Emmanuel College before an injury ended her career prematurely. She became a sub-varsity coach at AC while she was still in college then, after a few years off, took over as varsity coach at her alma mater in 2008.

After coaching two years, Menard took a break from volleyball, though she has been an assistant basketball coach at AC since 2004. When the St. Mary's position became available, she knew the time was right for her to return to the volleyball court.

"I've always wanted to get back into it," she said. "I left coaching (volleyball) when I got married, and I knew I would come back to it someday. St. Mary's is a great opportunity to be at a new school with new faces."

St. Mary's Athletic Director Jeff Newhall said he is pleased to have attracted a coach with Menard's experience.

"Erin has been a part of championship programs as a player and coach," he said. "I'm confident she will take our volleyball program to the next level."

Menard said volleyball provides an excellent option for female athletes looking for a fall sport. "If someone is looking for a fall sport, I always suggest volleyball," she said. "It's a fun sport and a good team sport. Most kids don't play until they get to high school, so there is an opportunity to teach as well as coach."

Menard was pleased to welcome 17 Marian Division and grade 9 students and 34 upperclassmen -- including seven returning varsity players -- on the first day Monday. The numbers will allow the Spartans to have a varsity, JV and freshman team.

"I'm very happy with the numbers," she said. "I'm very encouraged after the first day."

The Spartans open their season Sept. 5 at Archbishop Williams.

Menard works as an administrative assistant at her father's electrical engineering company, and is also a part-time security guard at Fenway Park. She and her husband, Joshua, live in Medford.


Peters, Riley to join MIAA as assistant directors

August, 2, 2013
8/02/13
9:07
AM ET
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) yesterday announced the hiring of James Peters and Rich Riley as part-time assistant directors.

Here is the full release, courtesy of communications director Nathan Bonneau:



Franklin, MA – James Peters and Richard Riley will join the MIAA team as part-time Assistant Executive Directors in mid-August. Recent retirements have afforded the MIAA an opportunity to utilize the many years of educational and athletic leadership that both James Peters and Richard Riley offer. These two leaders have worked with the MIAA for years, serving many different roles, to enhance the high school experience for student-athletes across the state.

James Peters retired as Principal from Monson High School in 2011 after a distinguished career as coach, teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and principal. Furthermore, Mr. Peters served as MIAA President from 2007-2009, MIAA Board of Directors from 2004-2011, State Basketball Committee Chairman from 2001-2011, and several other leadership positions within the MIAA throughout his career. In 2011 Mr. Peters was awarded the MIAA Distinguished Service Award and most recently, in 2012, he was awarded the Sherman A. Kinney Award. Each of these awards represents one of the highest honors the MIAA offers.

Richard Riley retired as Athletic Director from St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School in 2012 after two years of service. Prior to this role, Mr. Riley worked at Marlborough High School as a coach, teacher, guidance counselor, assistant principal and athletic directorstarting in 1975. Mr. Riley brings his extensive knowledge of both athletic director training and coaches education instruction to the MIAA. During Mr. Riley’s tenure at both St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School and Marlborough High School he has served on several MIAA committees, including Coaches Education Instruction and Educational Athletics, as well as hosted and managed MIAA tournament events.

James Peters, District F, and Richard Riley, District E, have long standing relationships in the western and central parts of the state, which will further improve the MIAA’s representation and service to all sections of Massachusetts. The additions of James Peters and Richard Riley will benefit the MIAA as they work collectively towards providing the best possible high school experience for the thousands of student-athletes, coaches, and school administrators in Massachusetts.


Boys Volleyball State Final: Agawam 3, Milford 1

June, 13, 2013
6/13/13
1:51
AM ET


WELLESLEY, Mass. -– When you’ve been around the game as long as Agawam head coach Pat Demers –- an octogenarian -– there isn’t much you haven’t seen or done.

But in her 15th year coaching the Brownies, Demers won her first ever state championship, a 3-1 win over Milford at Babson College.

The Scarlet Hawks took game one 25-21 but the Brownies took the next three, 25-21, 25-21, 25-23 to win the MIAA Boys Volleyball State Championship.

[+] EnlargeVolleyball
Ryan Lanigan for ESPNBoston.com Agawam downed Milford to capture the 2013 MIAA Boys Volleyball State Championship.
Demers has taken her team to the postseason in all 15 years she has coached the Agawam boys, including quarterfinals, semi-finals, and finals, but told her team they needed to go all the way this time.

“I’m getting to be an old lady,” said Demers, who is 81 years old.

Senior Sawyer Frederick led the way with 26 kills for Agawam, including eight kills in each game three and game four and the game-winning kill.

“Absolutely unbelievable,” said Frederick of his feelings. “It’s a crazy feeling obviously, I’ve never had it.”

The Brownies finished the regular season at 17-2 and earned the top seed in the West bracket, before winning five playoff games to be crowned state champions.

“I told everybody at the beginning of the season that I’ve got the materials to take us to states and damned if they didn’t,” said Demers. “I’m very proud of them, they worked hard.”

Milford –- which lost in last year’s state championship –- jumped out quick 3-0 lead in game one, all points that were attributed to Agawam errors.

“It was definitely nerves,” said Demers. “It’s the first time they’ve ever been here. They were here last year so they knew they’ve got the jitters over with. I said to them, ‘it’s your turn to have the jitters so get rid of it right now.’”

The Brownies quickly shook off their jitters, leading for almost all of game two before picking up their first win at 25-21.

Milford opened up game three with an 8-2 run that included five kills from Milford junior Michael Antonellis –- a career-high 22 for the match –- but a Frederick block kill helped cap a 9-2 run for Agawam to give the Brownies at 11-10 lead. The teams traded points back and forth before three straight Milford errors gave Agawam a 23-19 lead.

“We’ve always had a thing we get ourselves in a hole and we have to crawl back,” said Demers. “If you get ahead, you better damn finish it off and keep the lead.”

Junior Bailey Cecchi finished game three with a big kill for the Brownies to put Agawam up 2-1.

Milford looked to stay alive in game four, building a six point lead twice, 17-11 and 20-14, but the resiliency of Agawam kicked in again, as the Brownies finished game four on an 11-3 run to win, which Demers credited to her team going back to basics.

“We started to get a little bit confused as to what we needed to do to bring it home it faster,” she said. “When we tried something new, it didn’t work. I said go back to basic volleyball: pass, set hit, get the serve over first.”

As Frederick slammed home the game-winning kill, the Agawam players mobbed one another on the court as Demers enjoyed her first ever title.

“It’s unreal,” said Frederick. “It feels great. Honestly my team and I came together and accomplished it for coach. I’m sure she feels amazing and I’m glad to give it to her.”

A Déjà vu Nightmare: For Milford, this year was supposed to be their redemption tour after suffering a heartbreaking loss in five games in last year’s state championship to Cambridge.

They even returned a group of strong core players in Kane Wittorff, Michael Soares, and setter Tim MacMannis.

But in late April, optimism quickly went away when Wittorff –- arguably their best hitter -– went out for the season with a knee injury.

“The kids had a lot to prove,” said Milford head coach Linda Zacchilli. “When Kane went down, a lot of their peers and anybody that was following us they felt like the season was over -– we still would be successful but not make it to the championship match. I think they had something to prove and they weren’t going to just lay down.”

Milford lost their first match without Wittorff, a 3-1 loss at the hands of the eventual North champions, Lawrence.

But the Scarlet Hawks adjusted quickly and won the last nine games of their season, only dropping two games in the process.

After rattling off three straight wins to win the Central, Milford avenged their lone regular season loss by beating Lawrence 3-2 in the state semi finals.

All that was left was what alluded them one year ago –- a state championship.

“Last year, when we walked out of the gym, this is all we wanted,” said Antonellis. “We got here, we did what we needed to do but we fell a little short.”

Milford will now hope that they have a chance to make the third time a charm next year.

“I don’t care what anyone says, we’re coming back here next year,” said Antonellis. “We’re all going to work so hard to come back and we’re going to make it happen again.”

Bill Gaine named MIAA Executive Director

June, 12, 2013
6/12/13
5:03
PM ET
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has tapped former Deputy Executive Director Bill Gaine to replace Dick Neal as Executive Director, effective July 1.

Gaine had previously served as the MIAA's Deputy Executive Director from 1994 to June 2012.

The MIAA released the following statement on Gaine's appointment:



Franklin, MA June 12, 2013 - William N. Gaine, Jr., the former Deputy Executive Director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) and Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association (MSSAA), has been chosen as the Executive Director of the two organizations. The announcement was made by Ann Knell, President of the MSSAA and Brian McCann, President of the MIAA who chaired the search committee to select a new leader.

Mr. Gaine succeeds Richard F. Neal who has served as Executive Director for 34 years. The appointment is effective July 1.

Mr. Gaine was formerly the Deputy Executive Director, a position he held from 1994 until June, 2012 when he retired. Following his retirement he continued to serve the two Associations in a part-time position.

"We had many excellent candidates express an interest in the Executive Director's position" Ms. Knell and Mr. McCann said. "However, Bill Gaine with his 34 years of experience was uniquely qualified. He will enable the two organizations to transition to a new leader without missing a beat. We are fortunate he decided to come back to full-time employment and accept this position."

Mr. Gaine joined the Associations as Assistant Executive Director in October, 1979 and has had major responsibility in the areas of student eligibility, as well as student/athlete health and safety initiatives over the years. He also had executive responsibility for all phases of management for most Association-sponsored sports.

The Presidents further stated that, "Bill Gaine has been an incredible leader of MIAA and MSSAA for almost their entire histories. There are few people indeed who could have had as much impact on more young people and their education than Bill has had in his more than three decades of leadership and service. He has positively impacted students, schools, and their leaders throughout the State and the Nation. Bill Gaine has earned a national reputation for vision, leadership, and determination to get the most and best out of every situation and person".

Mr. Gaine has been the architect and catalyst for the development and growth of the MIAA's Student Services Program which includes Sportsmanship, Wellness, Leadership, Community Service and Coaches' Education. The MIAA and Mr. Gaine have been recognized statewide and nationally for creating programming focused on student athletes that enrich their interscholastic experience through a curriculum of educational athletics.

Among the initiatives Mr. Gaine established to advance these programs are relationships and partnerships with the Anti-Defamation League, the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Governor's Alliance Against Drugs, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Partnership for a Drug-free America, and the Center of Sport at Northeastern University. Mr. Gaine founded the MIAA's Partners in Prevention, a network of over 65 prevention agencies in Massachusetts to assist schools with prevention and healthy lifestyle resources for students.

As Deputy Executive Director of the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators' Association (MSSAA), the professional association of approximately 1,200 principals and assistant principals throughout Massachusetts, Bill has contributed to the remarkable growth of that organization since the 1970s.

A resident of Ashland, Mr. Gaine has served on the South Middlesex Regional Vocational Technical School committee for two decades. In addition, his community service at the local level has included several committee initiatives at Ashland High School, as well as years of service at coaching and administration for Ashland softball and baseball.


MIAA announces Coach of the Year recipients

April, 11, 2013
4/11/13
9:40
PM ET
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has announced its recipients in each sport for its Coach of the Year awards. Each coach will be recognized at the third annual MIAA Coach of the Year/Student-­Athlete of the Month banquet on Wednesday, May 29.

Below are the winners:



Chris Gould, Amherst - Boys' Outdoor Track
Robert L'Homme, Bishop Feehan - Girls' Cross Country
Thomas Rivet, Chicopee - Boys Soccer
Donald Savi, Dedham - Girls Soccer
Chris Sweet, Duxbury - Boys Lacrosse
Friend Weiler, Duxbury - Girls Ice Hockey
Kirk Fredericks, LincolnSudbury - Baseball
Alyssa Schatzel, Masconomet - Girls Volleyball
Brenda Sullivan, Maynard - Field Hockey
Michael Kirby, Narragansett - Softball
Robert Ryan, New Bedford - Boys Tennis
Wayne Griffin, North Attleborough - Wrestling
Paul Worth, North Shore Tech - Football
Jose Rocha, Peabody - Boys' Cross Country
Shawn Thornton, Pope John XXIII - Girls Basketball
Jeff Nelson, Reading - Boys' Golf
Mark Pierce, St. Bernard's - Boys Basketball


New England Volleyball Players of the Year announced

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
3:53
PM ET
In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, has announced its nationwide High School girls' volleyball state Player of the Year awards.

Here's a look at the New England-based winners:

(Note: Vermont does not sanction high school volleyball.)

CONNECTICUT: MARINA ROSE, SR. OUTSIDE HITTER, COVENTRY
The 5-foot-9 senior outside hitter led the Patriots (24-0) to a seventh consecutive Class S state championship this past season. A three-time Class S First Team All-State selection as named by the Connecticut High School Coaches Association, Rose amassed 447 kills, 409 digs, 99 service aces, 34 blocks and 10 assists. She compiled a .708 hitting percentage and .781 kill percentage. In a Class S state championship sweep of Holy Cross, she recorded 17 kills, 16 digs, three blocks, two service aces and two assists, earning tournament Most Valuable Player honors.

Also a basketball standout, Rose has maintained a 3.05 GPA in the classroom. In addition to donating her time as a youth volleyball and basketball coach, she has volunteered on behalf of the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, the Covenant Soup Kitchen, Operation Shoebox serving America’s armed forces and the 30 Hour Famine end-hunger initiative.

“She is so, so smooth a player in all aspects of the game,” said Paul Thees, head coach of rival Trumbull High. “It’s amazing. Her team was No. 1 in the state for a reason. That’s the main reason. That kid. She was just unbelievable. Everything she did—in the All-Star Game, too—was just so smooth.”

Rose has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on scholarship at Providence College beginning in the fall of 2013.

Rose joins recent Gatorade Connecticut Volleyball Players of the Year Kyley Reed (2011-12, Rocky Hill High School), Madison McCaffery (2010-11, Fairfield Ludlowe High School), Tessa Smolinski (2009-10, RHAM), Erika Videtto (2008-09, RHAM) and Janice Ehorn (2007-08, Amity Regional) among the state’s list of former award winners.

MAINE: MARIAH HEBERT, SR. SETTER, BIDDEFORD
The 5-foot-7 senior setter amassed 350 assists, 56 digs, 48 service aces, 25 kills and 12 blocks this past season, leading the Tigers (16-1) to the Class A state championship match. Also the Player of the Year as named by the Maine Sunday Telegram and Journal Tribune, Hebert compiled an .800 kill percentage. In three playoff matches, Hebert averaged 7.5 assists, 1.6 digs, 1.3 kills and 1.3 service aces per set before suffering a concussion midway through a 3-1 Class A state championship loss to Greely.

Hebert has maintained a 4.95 weighted GPA in the classroom and serves on her school’s homecoming committee. In addition to donating her time to Biddeford’s peer mentorship program, she has volunteered locally on behalf of the Salvation Army, the United Way, the Biddeford Recreation Department, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Rotary International’s Interact club, a community Thanksgiving fundraiser, a breast cancer awareness campaign and a charity bottle drive.

“She had the best hands I’ve seen in a high school player,” said Todd Brophy, head coach of rival Mt. Desert Island High. “She made excellent decisions setting and mixed up her sets really well. The quality of her ball was probably the best in the state, as far as unbelievable consistency. She dominated the All-Star Showcase and won MVP between her setting and serving. She really stood out.”

Hebert remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Hebert joins recent Gatorade Maine Volleyball Players of the Year Brittany Bona (2011-12, Scarborough High School), Keila Grigware (2010-11, Biddeford High School), Michaela Campbell (2009-10 & 2008-09, Greely), and Mariah Grover(2007-08, Mount Desert Island) among the state’s list of former award winners.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: MOLLY WOTTON, JR. OUTSIDE HITTER, DOVER
The 5-foot-11 junior outside hitter recorded 272 kills, 148 digs, 76 service aces and 44 blocks while posting a hitting percentage of .402 and a kill percentage of .564 this past season, leading the Green Wave (17-4) to the Division I state semifinals. The 2012 Coaches Division I Player of the Year and the New Hampshire Union-Leader Player of the Year, Wotton is a two-time First Team All-State selection. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 552 kills and 147 service aces.

Wotton has maintained a B average in the classroom. She has volunteered locally on behalf of the Special Olympics, her church nursery school and as a youth basketball coach.

“Molly Wotton is one of the more gifted and talented players I have seen at the high school level,” said Sean Hogan, head coach of Timberlane High. “Molly can completely take over a match with her attack or her serve.”

Wotton has verbally committed to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship at the University of New Hampshire beginning in the fall of 2014.

Wotton joins recent Gatorade New Hampshire Volleyball Players of the Year Kelsey Berry (2011-12, Hollis Brookline High School), Katie Schwarz (2010-11, Londonderry High School), Maria Kuehl (2009-10, Farmington), Amanda Saab(2008-09, Farmington) and Lauren Laquerre (2007-08, Concord) among the state’s list of former award winners.

RHODE ISLAND: TAYLOR STEVENS, SR. SETTER, PONAGANSET
The 5-foot-6 senior setter and outside hitter recorded 442 assists, 219 digs, 215 kills, 63 service aces and 40 blocks while posting a kill percentage of .455 this past season, leading the Chieftains (8-9) to the Division I state quarterfinals. The 2012 Rhode Island Volleyball Coaches Association Player of the Year, Stevens was a two-time First Team All-State selection and a 2010 Second Team All-State honoree. She concluded her prep volleyball career with 2,026 assists, 324 kills and 262 service aces.

Stevens has maintained a 3.80 weighted GPA in the classroom. A member of the Ponaganset High student council, she has volunteered locally at Isaac Paine Elementary School in Foster and as a peer mentor.

“Taylor Stevens is clearly an intelligent, knowledgeable player who combines her athleticism to create a dynamic presence on the court,” said Victoria Tefft, head coach of North Kingstown High. “She filled a number of holes for Ponaganset this season, displaying her overall skill set and comfort in a variety of roles.”

Stevens remains undecided upon a collegiate destination.

Stevens joins recent Gatorade Rhode Island Volleyball Players of the Year Kelsey Lace (2011-12, Mount Saint Charles Academy), Elise Walsh (2010-11 & 2009-10, The Prout School), Katie Walsh (2008-09, The Prout School) and Sam Andreozzi (2007-08, North Kingstown) among the state’s list of former award winners.

Frontier's Stankowski named Volleyball Player of the Year

December, 17, 2012
12/17/12
3:13
PM ET
In its 28th year of honoring the nation’s best high school athletes, The Gatorade Company, in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports, today announced Cassidy Stankowski of Frontier Regional School as its 2012-13 Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball Player of the Year. Stankowski is the first Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball Player of the Year to be chosen from Frontier Regional School.

The state’s returning Gatorade Volleyball Player of the Year, the 5-foot-8 senior outside hitter led the Red Hawks to a 23-1 record and a third straight Division 3 state title this past season. Stankowski recorded 185 kills, 127 digs, 21 service aces and 13 blocks while posting a hitting percentage of .469. A four-time Division 3 First Team All-State selection and a 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association Under Armour Honorable Mention All-American, Stankowski recorded 17 kills and 14 digs in a state final win over Lynnfield High. She concluded her six-year prep volleyball career with 1,483 kills, 1,151 digs and 364 service aces.

Stankowski has maintained a 3.66 GPA in the classroom. She has volunteered locally at a homeless shelter and food bank, as a peer mentor and as part of multiple community service initiatives in association with her church.

“Cassidy can do it all: pass, dig, hit, block, serve, and her coach has even had her set to rest her at times and she is well capable,” said Roger Anderson, head coach at Westborough High. “Her speed, ball control and intangibles make her the top in my book.”

Stankowski has signed a National Letter of Intent to play volleyball on an athletic scholarship at Central Connecticut State University beginning next fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track & field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. The selection process is administered by the Gatorade high school sports leadership team in partnership with USA TODAY High School Sports, which work with top sport-specific experts and a media advisory board of accomplished, veteran prep sports journalists to determine the state winners in each sport.

Stankowski joins Gatorade Massachusetts Volleyball Players of the Year Maura Manley (2010-11, New Bedford High School), Morgan Thatcher (2009-10, Brockton), Caitlin Barrett (2008-09, Brockton) and Mina Baban (2007-08,Westborough) among the state’s list of former award winners.

SPONSORED HEADLINES