Londonderry Lancers Boys Volleyball '11

Tue, May 10, 2011 06:00 PM @ Londonderry
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Salem 28 16 25 26 3
Londonderry 26 25 19 24 1

Bad boys of volleyball still untouchable

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 LONDONDERRY – New Hampshire’s volleyball villain doesn’t dress in black. These wanted men wear white on the road, trimmed in royal.

But have no doubts, Salem High, even under mild-mannered first-year coach Scott Wright, remains the bad boy of Granite State volleyball.

 “Nobody likes up here, not the referees, not anybody,” said Blue Devils’ senior Zach Meisner, shortly after he and Salem sent yet another would-be posse home empty-handed by dumping Londonderry in four games.

That’s 120 straight for these gunslingers of the hard court. Salem, as a program, still is yet to taste defeat.

All the pieces were in place for this thing to finally end. The Blue Devils are supposedly in rebuilding mode under Wright. The only other coach the program had known, E.J. Perry, has moved on to the grid iron at Andover.

And the rest of New Hampshire has supposedly caught up. Londonderry, 7-1, was playing host to a dose of reality yesterday.

“We go out every day knowing that everybody wants to take us out,” said Wright.

Yesterday, Salem tortured Londonderry in a four-game work that might have made legendary professional wrestling heel Ric Flair proud.

The Blue Devils appeared stunned in Game 1, trailing 24-21 when seniors Meisner and Joe Gallant lifted their shoulders off the mat for the 26-24 rally.

They were pulverized by the Lancers in Game 2 as Londonderry’s savage outside brute Matt Hersey unleashed his power game, devastated 25-16.

But Salem blunted the flurry early in the third, despite sinking into a 9-2 hole as Cory Forrest awoke.

Up 2-1, Salem gave Londonderry and its home crowd one last thrill, rising to an apex at 23-20. But Salem slapped the finishing hold on the Lancers and turned out the lights.

Again, it was Gallant , Forrest and Meisner up front with some game back-row work from Jonny Klecan and Drew O’Shaughnessy, sealing up No. 120 before the Lancers knew what hit them.

“They said in the newspaper that they’d be the team. There would be no 120,” said Meisner. “We ripped it up and laughed at it. We just said to heck with these guys. We’re going to beat them.”

While Wright says his players and he himself downplay the streak, there has to be something to it.

Honestly, and this comes from pretty much a volleyball neophyte’s perspective, the talent on both sides looked pretty similar.

But once the play got into the 20s, Salem simply flipped a switch.

“Lucky us,” joked Wright, who went on to explain the late-game fortitude his gang displays. They get angry, they know they’re better than the way they’ve played it at time. Sometimes they let the game slip away from them. Then reality kicks in. They decide it’s all business. They execute very well at the end.”

For a senior like Forrest, who plays no other sports, he gathers his strength out of desperation.

“Just focus on every point and play every game like it’s my last,” he said.

Like the rest of Division 1, Londonderry High and coach David Starin aren’t going anywhere. Sorry, there are just too many signs that he and the Lancer posse are closing in on these volleyball desperados.

“They have the athletes, they have talent,” said Starin. “They have that confidence about them, they know they’ve never lost.  When you have that confidence, and that swagger, and you bring it to the table, it definitely shows.

“But the game we won, we were very sharp. It was probably the best we played all year, and we beat them 25-16. We need to have that focus for two hours, not just game 2.”

Londonderry will get at least one more chance, possibly two.

“I don’t know if you can prepare to lose, it just happens,” said Wright. “I’m not really sure how this team would respond to it. It’s going to be very interesting if or when it does happen.”

Game Statistics:

Kills: L — Matt Hersey 12;  S — Zach Meisner 11, Cory Forrest 9, Joe Gallant 7

Blocks: L — Kyle Willis 4, Dan Tierney 4;  S — Gallant 9, Forrest 8

Assists: L — Mike Galluzzo 28; S — Alex Gomes 27

Service points (aces): L — Troy Rooney 12 (1) Hersey (6); S — Eric Denning 12 (3)

Digs: L — Jared Schwalbe 7; S — Meisner 7, Forrest 7

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