Top players to watch and season outlooks for the area’s high school volleyball teams




Coach: Whitney Carrier, 2nd season

2018 result: 15-5, lost to Nashua South in Division I quarterfinals

Top returning players: Mia Whitehead, sr., OH/MB; Kyra Cantwell, sr., setter; Katy Cantwell, sr., MB; Caitlin Quinn, sr., setter; Sierra Castonguay, sr., libero/DS; Lindsay Donahue, sr., DS; Rachel Vitko, jr., OH/MB; Morgan Raineri, jr., MB

Other key players: Alexis Edwards, sr., DS; Sara Dumais, jr., DS; Charlotte, Albert, fr., DS; Sam Winters, fr., RH

Outlook: Dover has high expectations every year, but this year it is magnified with seven seniors on the roster. … “We’re excited,” Carrier said. “There’s a lot of experience on the team. Even the freshmen have been playing for five or six years.” … The key will be capitalizing on offense, which the Green Wave did not do enough last year. “We need to make sure we take every opportunity to score points,” Carrier said. … Dover lost its opener in four sets at three-time defending champion Hollis-Brookline.



Coach: Mike McDonnell, 9th season

2018 result: Lost to Spaulding in Division I quarterfinals

Top returning players: Sam Wiberg, sr., setter; Phoebe Tyler, sr., setter; Katie Nicholson, sr., OH; Abby Williams, sr., OH; Morgan Sawyer, sr., DS

Other key players: Claire Perrault, jr., DS; Hazel Brown, jr., MH; Dana Litzelman, jr., OH

Outlook: The Blue Hawks enter 2019 a bit under the radar without graduate Sydney Johnson, one of the state’s top outside hitters, but they don’t view that as a negative. “A lot of people think we’re rebuilding,” McDonnell said. “We like to say we’re going to reload.” … The Blue Hawks have a veteran setter in Wiberg, now in her third year running the plays. She’ll be feeding hitters like Nicholson, Williams and Litzelman. … Sawyer and Perrault should have Exeter covered well in the back row. … The Blue Hawks opened their season Friday night with a 3-0 sweep of Merrimack.




Coach: Madison Lightfoot, 1st season

2018 result: 12-7, lost to Pinkerton in Division I first round

Top returning players: Corinne Lamond, sr., MB; Eli Omahen, sr., OH; Heather Hutchins, sr., DS/libero; Alexa Stevens, sr., setter

Other key players: Holly Galvin, sr., RH; Casey McPhee, sr., MB; Lilly Murray, sr., DS/libero

Outlook: The Clippers graduated five from a team that made the jump from D-II to D-I last year and held its own. But they have some experience back, led by Lamond, an all-state middle. They also have a new coach in Lightfoot, a former star at the University of New Hampshire. … “The speed in Division I is definitely a step up,” Lightfoot said. “We adapted well last year. We’re excited about this season. We have some depth and versatility.” … The Clippers beat Londonderry in their opener, 3-1.



Coach: George Pendleton, 10th season

2018 result: 16-5, lost to Hollis-Brookline in Division I semifinals

Top returning players: Haleigh Gullison, jr., OH; April Beatty, jr., OH; Ambra Breakfield, jr., MB; Madison Heon, jr., MB; Hailey Nesbitt, sr., libero

Other key players: Grace Beaulieu, jr., setter; Olivia Thibaudeau, jr., MB; Frankie Callaghan, jr., OH; Leah Hobbs, jr., OH; Emily Sherman, soph., RH; Julia Ziadeh, fr., MB; Kylyn McLaren, fr., DS/libero; Amelia Beatty, fr., OH; Alicia Beatty, fr., OH

Outlook: The loss of three key seniors, including Gatorade and D-I Player of the Year Leah Creteau, will be difficult to replace. … “We’ll be pretty good, but it will be a building season,” Pendleton said. … As always the Red Raiders will be vertically challenged with two kids 5-foot-10 and everyone else under 5-8. “We have to be defensive minded and have a lot of ball control on our side and not make mental mistakes. We could be a sleeper.” … Spaulding won its opener Friday at Alvirne.


Coach: Ben Molnar: 1st season

2018 result: 4-14, did not qualify for Division I playoffs

Top returning players: Audrey Simmons, sr., OH: Emily Wheeler, sr., OH; Emily Ellis, sr., MB; Paige Cutting, sr., MB

Other key players: Stephanie Reed, sr., libero; Claudia Reuss, jr., OPP; Claire Simmons, soph., S

Outlook: Molnar, who spent last season as a volunteer varsity assistant, was named head coach in the offseason when longtime coach Lorie Garand resigned. … Winnacunnet returns 15 players from last year’s team and more than 20 freshmen registered to play at the start of the summer. “We’re very excited about the numbers,” Molnar said. “We have a lot of girls who are coming back that understand how to play, and they are hungry to get better.” … The Warriors earned a season-opening 3-2 win over Timberlane last Friday. … Audrey Simmons had 21 kills and four aces. Claire Simmons had 26 assists with three aces, and Ellis led the team with six blocks.




Coach: Cassandra Sweatt, 6th season

2018 result: 15-3, lost in Division II semifinals to Milford

Top returning players: Corinne Quaglieri, sr., OH; Ella Cavicchi, jr., MB; Haley Davis, jr., libero

Other key players: Maggie Sylvester, jr., OH; Emma Hampton, fr., OH; Isabelle Kalway, sr., setter; Sam Piedmont, jr., setter; Lauren Hoppler, soph., setter; Kim Gowell, soph., MB; Molly Morin, kr., RH; Margot Burnam, soph., RH

Outlook: The Bobcats graduated a strong senior class, led by four-year standouts Kathryn Cohen and Cassidy Gibb, both of who surpassed 1,000 career assists. “We’re younger than we’ve been in a long time,” Sweatt said. … OR is not without talents. Quaglieri and Sylvester, a transfer from Coe-Brown, are all-state calibre outside hitters, and Hampton is a promising freshman. Setter is the position they need to shore up with the loss of Cohen and Gibb. … “We were a scrappy defensive team last year that showed a lot of heart and that has carried over,” said Sweatt. … The Bobcats beat Laconia, 3-1, in their Friday opener.



Coach: Kristie Holtz, 20th season

2018 result: 13-4, lost to Laconia in Division II quarterfinals

Top returning players: Mady Buchalski, sr., OH; Meagan Skowron, jr.., MB; Kaitlyn Ford, jr., OH; Kateri True, jr., libero; Maya Rubio, sr., MB; Lizzy Engalichev, sr., OH; Raegan Holzhuter, sr., DS; Annabel Kossakoski, jr., setter

Other key players: Mya Ford, soph., DS; Enya Kaonga, soph., setter; Saah Long, fr., MB

Outlook: The most pressing issue for the Saints is replacing record-setting All-State setter Emma Gould, who was also a valuable leader. “We have to build our offense around new setters,” said Holtz. … STA does return some experience in the hitting department with Buchalski, Showron, and Kaitlyn Ford. Buchalski is one of the top outside hitters in D-II. … “We’re trying to find our presence and our leadership,” Holtz added. … STA won its opener over John Stark in four sets.



Coach: Steve Hodsdon, 19th season

2018 result: 4-12, did not qualify for Division II playoffs

Top returning players: Emily Ferland, sr., libero; Madi Smith, jr., OH; Leah Peloquin, soph., setter; Rylee Page, jr., OH

Other key players: Julia Burgess, jr., MB; Alyssa Paris, jr., MB; Sophie Rees, soph., RH; Alexis Fox, soph., OH; Sierra Dow, sr., RH; Angelini Oroh, sr., RH; Seairra Anderson, jr., OH; Melanie Baideo, jr., setter;

Outlook: The Hilltoppers will be undersized and will have to find a way to replace the offense left by the graduation of two middles who totaled 90 percent of their kills. “The players that are coming in are either undersized or new,” Hodsdon said. “We’re working on ball control and serving tough. We have to take care of our side of the court.” … The Hilltoppers dropped their opener to Plymouth, 3-0.




Coach: Kevin Carreiro, 4th season

2018 result: 3-13, missed Division III playoffs

Top returning players: Anna Abraham, sr., libero; Rebecca Jones, sr., MB; Molly McCormack, sr., OH; Lindsay Hatfield, jr., OH; Johanna Skubisz, soph., setter; Isabelle Ouellette, jr., setter; Lauren Vincent, jr., MB; Madison Kniphfer, soph., DS/libero

Other key players: Liahna Messier, fr., DS; Alex Griffen, fr., utility; Jocelyn Hewitt, jr., OH/MB; Emily Estes, fr., setter

Outlook: After a down season in 2018, the eagles return four starters and should be in better position to challenge for a playoff spot. … “we’re not overpowering with our offense,” Carreiro said. “We need to play good defense, serve receive and serve. We’ll focus on serving strong and hope to string together points to build a lead.” … PCA opens the season Tuesday at Epping.





Coach: Paul Brisson, 5th season

2018 result: 4-10, did not qualify for Class A playoffs

Top returning players: Raya Anderson, jr., MB; Halliday Dinsmore-Patch, sr., setter; Maddie Fjeld, jr., RH; Erin Gray, sr., OH; Caroline Hammond, soph., OH; Margaret Kovalcin, soph., MB; Anna Molin, sr., MH

Other key players: Elise Echols, jr., RH; Reid Johnson, jr., setter; Abigail Mathieu, jr., DS; Caitlin Mathieu, jr., OH; Mia Tero, soph., MB; Lianne Walker, jr., OH; Vivian Webster, jr., DS

Outlook: Marshwood is working a number of new players into the lineup, while looking to improve upon the record from last year. … The Hawks are a very talented group that can compete for a playoff berth if they play up to their potential. … Marshwood opened the season Saturday with a sweep of first-year Sanford/Noble.




Coach: Suzanne Bradley, 4th season

2018 result: 10-6, lost to Cape Elizabeth in Class B state semifinals

Top returning players: Isabelle Babcock, sr., libero; Emma Parrotta, sr., MH; Abby Orso, sr., OH; Phoebe Slovenski, jr., C/OH; Nora Pulsifer, jr., libero

Other key players: Emma Tinervin, jr., OH; Tatum Stacey, jr., OH: Jologua Tamta, jr., setter; Raigen Michniewicz, jr.; Meg Bachelder, jr.; Grace Frazier, jr.; Bryce Reagan, sr.; Isabella Tidd, sr.

Outlook: The Wildcats return 12 players from last year’s team which had as many wins as the program’s first two years combined. “I have told my players that this team, with the talent that they have, and if we can play as a team and come together as a team, I want to see us in the state championship game — that is our goal,” Bradley said. “We are aiming high this year.” … York opened its season last Friday with a 3-0 win at Lake Region. “It was truly a team effort,” Bradley said. … York beat defending Class A state champion Falmouth in a preseason tournament. “I can’t say enough how well (our girls) played in that match,” Bradley said. “I hope that game gives them what they needed to see what their potential can be.”

— capsules compiled by Mike Whaley, Jay Pinsonnault and Ryan O’Leary


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