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Yee-haw, Vikings win two in a row

  • Micah Howard, center, and the Vikings celebrate a kill against Souhegan. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic volleyball team hosted Souhegan on Friday. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Mascenic’s Jake Zina gets up for a jump serve during Friday’s win over Souhegan. Staff photo by Ben Conant



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Monday, May 07, 2018

It was midway through the second game when Mascenic made a tip at the net and scored another point on Souhegan. The Viking boys circled up for one of those signature volleyball celebrations that rally the team and instill fear in opponents. The blue-clad boys got together, looked over at coach Lauren Somero, and let out a...yee-haw?

“The celebrations have been something of a joke around here,” Somero said, “because I hate their ace cheer, I hate their tip cheer, and it’s almost like a ‘Ha-ha, this is hilarious, coach is going to think this is funny.’

The first few times one watches a high school volleyball game, the synchronized cheers might be a surprise. But even a seasoned volleyball veteran would take note of the Vikings’ new rallying cry.

“Yesterday [in practice] I just started doing it because I thought it was funny,” said big man Nate Long, “and then everyone started doing it because they all thought it was funny. I think [the celebrations] are pretty cool.”

They may be ribbing their coach a bit when they cowboy up, but when something – no matter how silly – unites a team, it’s a good thing.

“They’re an awesome group of athletes, an awesome group of kids, an awesome group of boys but they’re also a bunch of goofballs,” Somero said. “It comes out more when they’re in command of a game and there’s no fear of a loss and they can play loose. They’re always better when they’re playing loose so it’s fine by me.”

The Vikes were loose as all get-out Friday as they picked up their second straight 3-0 win, beating Souhegan with ease. The yee-haws were one thing, but what really struck at the heart of the Sabers – quite literally – was the monster spikes of Micah Howard, who decommissioned an opponent with a power-shot to the chest that all but ended the match for Souhegan. The Sabers were focused on taking Howard out of the game by serving at him, but his serve-receive was as on point as the rest of the Vikings, and he’d finish with another dominant day – 15 kills, a block and two aces. Somero said the Vikings’ serve-receive was improved even since Monday’s sweep of John Stark.

“What I liked about tonight that was different from what we saw on Monday was that my receivers saw it better,” Somero said. “They saw it early, they called the ball early, they cleaned up some communication problems. We can run our offense off an effective serve-receive but if you’re not serve-receiving the ball, you can’t run your offense.”

The always-airborne Howard and the 6’8” Long have been making things easy for first-year setter Jake Zina, who’s settled right into that role, forming a symbiotic relationship with the hitters that flows throughout the team. If his sets aren’t perfect, his big guys have the wingspan to adjust; plus, Zina has the athleticism to adjust if the back row doesn’t give him an ideal ball to work with.

“One of our biggest strengths right now is how accurate Jake’s able to be as a first-year setter,” Somero said. “It’s a forgiving offense, is what I call it, because they can kind of lend themselves to each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

The flash happens at the net, but it starts in back, where the solid serve-receive of Brandon Thompson and Dawson Somero gets things started for the Vikings.

“When you have players that are steady like that, it allows an offense to run,” Somero said. “It's not necessarily the shiny things that you see from the bleachers, nobody's going home saying 'Man, Brandon's passing was perfect,' but when you don't have that, you see the offense fall apart. Micah couldn't be who he is, Nate couldn't be who he is without them.”

Mascenic (4-2) hosts Hollis-Brookline (4-5) Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.