THE NRHS volleyball team qualified for the new statewide tournaments this season. (File Photo)
By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
NORTH READING — Looking back at this season, North Reading High volleyball coach Mike Milone felt like it was a success considering the lack of varsity experience his squad had coming into the year.
“We only really had two players who got to see varsity action last year,” pointed out Milone, who just completed his 11th-season at the helm.”We made a lot of positive steps forward and were able to win a few of those five-set matches.”
North Reading finished with an overall record of 6-13 as they lost at Austin Prep, 3-1, in the first round of the Division 3 state tournament back on Nov. 4.
Late in the season, the Cape Ann League was split into the Kinney and Baker divisions.
The Hornets went 4-10-1 in the league finishing in fifth place in the CAL Kinney division.
“Three of the final eight teams in the Division 4 tournament were from our league,” pointed out Milone about the toughness of the CAL. “Ipswich ended up winning it all (in Div. 4).”
North Reading will lose five seniors to graduation. Two of them were captains Rose Morelli (libero) and Megan Slattery (right side hitter).
Morelli was a CAL Second-Team All-Star who led the team in digs with 253 and was second in assists with 24.
The other three 12th-graders are Erin Scanlon (middle hitter), Lily Joyce (middle hitter) and Gina Mulik (outside hitter).
“The seniors were a great group of kids,” stated Milone. “They set a good example for the younger players.”
Next fall, the Hornets are slated to return nine veterans led by junior co-captain Abby Gerber. Gerber, a setter, was a CAL First-Team All-Star as she was first on the team in service aces (77) and assists (332). She was second in digs with 186 and third in blocks with 11 and kills with 83.
The other players expected back are Maddie Koenig (junior- outside hitter), Izzy Milone (junior- defensive specialist), Jasmine Farias (junior- defensive specialist), Kaitlin Murnane (sophomore- middle hitter), Arya Kolodzieczak (junior- outside hitter), Mia Pittore (junior- defensive specialist), Sophia Fodera (junior- right side hitter) and Talia Ranieri (freshman- outside hitter).
“I am excited about the group we have coming back,” said Milone. “We will have a lot of good experience.”
Three postseason individual awards were also given by the Hornet coaches. Gerber was named the team’s MVP. Morelli received the Coaches Award while Slattery took home the Unsung Heroine Award.