THE LHS volleyball team recently concluded their season with their annual awards banquet. (File Photo)

By STEPHEN MARTELLUCCI

LYNNFIELD — Five awards were handed out at the recently-held Lynnfield High volleyball awards banquet by head coach Brent Ashley.

The Lynnfield Athletic Association Academic Award-went to senior setter Janhavi Joglekar while the Offensive Player of the Year Award was given to fellow senior setter Lilyana DeLeo.

Senior Liv Tare received the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Senior manager, Leticia Marafon, took home the Service and Leadership Award and the Heart and Hustle award went to senior outside hitter Grace D’Augusta.

This fall, the Pioneers were knocked of the MIAA Division 3 state tournament in their first playoff match as they were edged, 3-2, at Lynn Classical back on Nov. 2.

With that defeat, Lynnfield’s final overall record was 10-10.

In the Cape Ann League, they finished at 8-7 as they came in fifth place.

“I truly believe that the seniors we had this year were something special,” said Ashley. “After graduating six seniors the year prior, all who held starting positions on the team, building new leadership and building varsity experience was going to be incredibly difficult. These seniors did an incredible job supporting and leading our younger athletes and helping to grow the culture and love for volleyball in our school and community.

“On top of that, this group raised nearly $5,000 for the Side-Out Foundation on our DigPink match (for Stage IV Metastatic Breast Cancer Research). Our seniors also led our third Annual Mental Health Match, raising awareness for Mental Health in our surrounding communities in our regular-season match against Lynn Classical.”

Next year, the Pioneers will have several veterans back including their two CAL All-Stars, junior outside hitters Chase Carangelo and Erika Pasquale.

“We do have a lot to look forward to,” said Ashley. “We are returning three rising seniors, all who should be all-state players next year: Erin (Higdon), Chase and Erika. We also have two rising juniors: Alexia (Vaquerano) and Olivia (Kelter) who both started for us this year. A lot is going to depend on the work that these student athletes put in during the offseason and all of them play on top-level club teams throughout the winter and spring but I am incredibly excited to see how this group leads us into next year.”

Higdon now holds the Lynnfield record for service aces throughout a season with 104. Her serve to ace percentage was nearly 33 percent. The previous Pioneer to hold this record was Caroline Shannon in 2012 with 102 aces.

Higdon was also just named to the Bay-State Leadership Council, which is a first for any Lynnfield athlete.

“That is an incredible honor,” pointed out Ashley, who just completed his sixth year at the helm.