By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI
NORTH READING — North Reading High volleyball coach Mike Milone gave out three awards at the team’s recently held end-of-season banquet at Teresa’s Grille 19.
The MVP Award went to senior middle hitter Kaitlin Murnane. Murnane led the team in digs (131), service aces (62) and blocks (13) as she was named to the Cape Ann League First-Team All-Stars for the second consecutive year.
The Coaches Award was given to senior outside hitter Grace Terranova while the Unsung Heroine Award went to junior middle hitter Sami Mutti.
Mutti, who made the CAL Second-Team All-Stars, was the Hornets’ leader in kills with 114.
North Reading’s finial record was 6-14 overall and 5-11 in the Cape Ann League as they came in fourth place in the CAL Kinney Division.
They missed qualifying for the MIAA state tournament by three slots as they were ranked 35th in the Division 3 power rankings (only the top 32 automatically qualify).
“We had a very young team as we were starting two freshman and two sophomores,” explained Milone, who just completed his 14th-year at the helm. “We also had some injuries that were too difficult for us to overcome.”
The key injury happened to Talia Ranieri as the junior outside hitter hurt her knee. She was leading the team in kills before she got injured.
The Hornets will lose three seniors to graduation, Murnane, Terranova and Shayla Alley, who was a middle and outside hitter. They were this year’s tri-captains.
“Kaitlin will be tough to replace,” admitted Milone. “She was the foundation of our offense and she led us in several stats. Grace made huge gains during the season and Shayla improved a lot increasing her volleyball IQ.”
Next fall, the team is expecting to return 10 veterans.
“We had a lot of young players start so that bodes well for us,” said Milone. “We will have a strong senior class and I am enthusiastic for next year.”