Published in the September 16, 2015 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — The volleyball team began its quest for a sixth straight Division 3 North sectional championship with two decisive victories last week.
The Pioneers concluded the 2014 Division 3 season with an overall record of 20-4. Lynnfield won its fifth straight Division 3 North sectional title after the locals defeated Notre Dame 3-0 at Woburn High School. The locals’ magical season came to an end in the state semifinals after they fell 3-2 to state champion Frontier Regional.
With a strong core returning to the Pioneers this season, head coach Michelle Perrone is confident the locals will be one of the elite Division 3 North teams once again this fall.
“We are returning many experienced players who foster the value of hard work and dedication to team play,” said Perrone. “With their leadership, I believe we will be competitive again this season.”
While Perrone said its “too early in the season” to say if the Pioneers will be in a strong position to win its sixth straight Division 3 North sectional title, she said its “definitely on the team’s radar.”
Two senior captains, Jess Dwyer and Mary Kate Deighan, will lead the Pioneers this fall. Deighan, who was a Cape Ann League All-League and All-Star last year, will serve as the locals’ starting middle blocker. Dwyer, who was a CAL All-Star last fall, will start at libero for the Pioneers.
“Both of these players have played huge roles in our success the past two seasons and I am looking to them to continue the tradition of teamwork and determination in leading the Lady Pioneers to success,” said Perrone.
Senior Shannon Ryan, an All-State player and CAL All-Star last year, is the Pioneers’ starting setter. Perrone said Ryan, Deighan and Dwyer will serve as the Pioneers’ catalysts this fall.
“These players will bring the experience and drive necessary to focus the team each and every play,” said Perrone.
Perrone encouraged local residents to “keep an eye” on juniors Katie Nugent and Olivia Pascucci this season.
“I foresee them putting up some pretty good stats this season,” said Perrone.
When asked what the Pioneers’ strengths are this season, Perrone said, “We are hoping to have multiple strengths this year, but we will look to our experience and our hard work as a means of success.”
While Perrone said the Pioneers will have a number of different strengths this season, she said the locals need to focus on improving each day.
“One of our team philosophies this season will be better every day, better every day,” said Perrone.
The Pioneers began the 2015 Cape Ann League season defeating Georgetown 3-0 on Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Lynnfield won the first set 25-6. The locals prevailed 25-11 during the second set. The Pioneers pulled out a 25-6 victory during the third set.
Dwyer finished with 25 served aces, three service points and two assists. Junior Jessica Badger finished with three service points. Ryan, Deighan, Dwyer and Nugent finished with three service points apiece.
“It is always good to get your first league win under your belt,” said Perrone.
The Pioneers kept rolling and defeating archrival North Reading 3-0 on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Lynnfield won the first set 25-12. The locals prevailed 25-15 during the second set. The Pioneers cruised to a 25-15 victory during the third set.
“North Reading is always competitive,” said Perrone. “We just hoped to minimize unforced errors and maintain consistency in our serving and defense.”
The Pioneers traveled to Masconomet on Tuesday, Sept. 15, taking place after deadline. Lynnfield hosts Hamilton-Wenham on Friday, Sept. 18, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The locals travel to North Andover on Tuesday, Sept. 22, beginning at 5:30 p.m.