Salem Blue Devils Boys Volleyball '19

Thu, May 16, 2019 06:30 PM @ Salem
Team 1 2 3 4 Final
Timberlane 15 22 25 22 1
Salem 25 25 17 25 3

Salem snaps losing streak to Timberlane

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Thursday, May, 16 By Jeff Hamrick

SALEM – Once the unquestioned volleyball force in New Hampshire, Salem had a chance to reclaim some of that luster in a week that began against this year’s front runner and ended Thursday with a match against the two-time defending state champion.

The mission couldn’t have been more successful.

The Blue Devils first shut out first-place Windham on Monday, and after duplicating that feat Wednesday against Keene, Salem got the better of Timberlane in four games. The victory snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Owls, who have played for each of the past five titles while winning three.

“To finally beat them means a lot because they’ve always beaten us every year,” said Stift, a four-year starter who had participated in six of those losses. “They’ve been the strongest team. Salem used to be up there (winning 10 consecutive championships), but Timberlane kind of took us over, so it’s nice to have a chance and try to bring back that title.”

Stift played a big role on a Salem front line that breezed to a 25-15 win in the first game. The 6-foot-2 senior recorded five of his team-high 12 blocks as the Blue Devils opened a 20-10 lead.

“It gives us a lot of options,” Salem coach John Roemer said of his deep and experienced front. “We can run (a play) anywhere we want. If someone’s hot, we can feed the hot person. We’re basically deep and we have a lot of players on the bench who can step in and help like they did tonight.”

Timberlane (10-3) grabbed a 16-14 lead in the second game with a 10-2 run that featured a couple winners by Dimitri Kakouris. But Salem (13-2) took command with a 6-0 run behind kills from Jackson Cain and Stift serving en route to a 25-22 win.

And when Salem grabbed a 7-2 lead early in the third, it appeared the match was headed for a quick end, but Timberlane fought back behind the big hitting of Jake Moirier, who had a match-high 13 kills. A couple aces by Joe Casey were part of an 8-1 run that gave the Owls a 21-14 lead on its way to an eight-point win.

“We were hoping to compete and get better tonight,” Timberlane coach Sean Hogan said. “And I think that’s what we got out of it. We won’t have the one (seed in the postseason).

“And regardless if we went 2-0 or 0-2 in this stretch (with Salem and front-runner Windham) we knew we’d be somewhere between the two or four (seed). We weren’t taking it lightly, but we want to use this match and Monday’s match against Windham to kind of test ourselves and a last-ditch effort to improve as a team.”

The fourth game was tight throughout. Salem scored six of seven points to open a 22-17 lead, but Timberlane rallied with five straight to tie. That proved to be the final points the Owls would score though as a Cain kill stopped the momentum. The Blue Devils closed out the victory behind the serving of Roman Fabrizio, who stood out with his bright green socks and slick passing that netted 46 assists.

“Right now, we’re staying mentally prepared the whole entire match,” said Roemer, whose squad sits a half game behind Windham. “We had more ups and downs earlier in the season. The flow is better, and it’s definitely a good time for it to be happening right now.”

Game Statistics:

Kills: Timberlane — Jake Morrier 13; Salem — Alex Stift 12, Jackison Cain 9, Ben Laycock 9

Blocks: Timberlane — Dimitri Kakouris 4; Salem — Laycock 4, Jarrett Dennis 2, Roman Fabrizio 2

Assists: Timberlane — Alex Kakouris 28; Salem — Fabrizio 46

Service points (aces): Timberlane — Casey (2); Salem — Dennis 20, Cain (2)

Digs: Timberlane — Cam Ross 17; Salem — Anthony Bellomo 15, Cain 14

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