NHIAA D-I Girls' Volleyball: Salem puts away volleyball crown
DERRY - Salem volleyball coach John Roemer is having quite the year.
Just months after leading the boys' team to an undefeated season and its eighth straight Division I title, Roemer took over the girls' squad and led the second-ranked Blue Devils to their fifth title and first since 2007, culminating in Saturday's 3-1 victory over No. 4 Goffstown. 23-25, 25-23, 26-24 and 25-17, at Pinkerton Academy.
"I should just retire now," said Roemer. "It's been more of a challenge on the girls' side than the boys', because there's so much parity in this conference. There's 12 teams that could have won this easily. Goffstown fought their hardest and put their hearts out there."
Rachel Morissey paced the defensive side of the net with 26 digs, while Olivia Burke, Amanda Bickford and Alyssa Kolbert finished with 13, 11 and 10 kills apiece.
"Rachel Morissey did a great job digging everything and our two middles, Brianna Wojtas (four blocks) and Olivia (4.5 blocks), did a phenomenal job at the net," he said. "It was really a full team effort, though. Everybody stood out."
The Blue Devils (21-1) did receive help across the board, getting four aces each from Alyssa Matthews and Hannah O'Shaughnessy and 43 assists from Kelsey Card.
Goffstown (17-5) lost to Salem in three straight sets in their Sept. 7 matchup, but came out firing and took the first game to put Salem under pressure.
"I think we just wanted it (at that point). We just got to a point where Goffstown won the first game and I think they just wanted to play extremely hard and they wanted it bad," Roemer said. "Goffstown played the best volleyball I've seen them play. They were the underdogs and they really wanted it more than us at the beginning and they were going to give us a dogfight. Once we realized that, we stepped up to the challenge and got over the mistake and nerves and took care of business."
The Grizzlies fought throughout and nearly came back from 23-18 and 22-16 deficits in the second and third games, respectively.
"I'm proud of how hard they compete every day. We had a great run with great energy throughout. We never looked like we were beat, we kept fighting for every point and that's what they'll remember," said Goffstown head coach Matt Leonard. "We played Salem early in the season and we were still learning how to compete then but they were ready right from the go."
Abby Cook led the way for the Grizzlies with 24 digs, while sophomore Renee Roggenbuck was a force on offense with 22 kills, three aces and six blocks. Jessica Williamson added 19 kills while Kendra Siemiesz had 34 assists.
"Our two captains, Abby Cook and Jen Cashin, have led us all season. They're just the rocks on the team. They aren't the high-flying hitters but they lead us," said Leonard. "Every team's goal at the beginning of the year is to make it to the championship. Very few people thought we'd make it this far but we didn't surprise ourselves. We did what we wanted to do. We competed a championship, that's what we're looking to do every year."