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boys volleyball

New look Vikings ready for season

Mascenic to open year tonight versus Keene

  • mascenic boys volleyball v john stark
  • mascenic boys volleyball v john stark

The Mascenic boys volleyball team missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2007.

The Vikings finished 5-11 overall and three games out of the eighth and final playoff position.

And the team will look a little different this season with Greg Smith, a social studies teacher at the school, taking over as coach for Tyler Bergeron, and the loss of four seniors who all saw significant time.

Smith has never coached organized volleyball, but the program was in need of a coach so he stepped in. So far he has been getting a lot of help from former players and even from members of the girls volleyball program.

“I had just been having a conversation with the senior players,” said Smith. “I got a message they were looking for a coach and I couldn’t turn it down.”

So it will be a little bit of a process to begin the season. With a number of returning players and some talented newcomers, Smith is still trying to figure out what the best combinations will be.

“I think we have a versatile group,” said Smith. “I like having players who can be prepared for any situation.”

Senior Robert Cooley will be the team’s top hitter from the front row and is expected to be a disruption for opposing offenses with his blocking abilities in the middle.

Travis Somero, a senior, will be the defensive leader for the Vikings, but has the ability to play anywhere. Senior Jake LaBossiere does a lot of things well and with his leadership ability, should make a huge impact on the team in many ways.

“I think we’re going to put up a fight,” said Smith

Junior Luke Moran will be Mascenic’s top server, but will be counted on for just about everything. Sophomore Braden Somero returns to pace the offense from the setter position and Smith expects a lot from the second-year player.

“He’s got great hands and understands the position,” said Smith.

Senior Jason Littlefield is getting better with on offense and should be a big contributor as the season goes along and senior Nick Baldwin, when he returns from an injury, will be a big boost to the team. Justin Somero, a sophomore, played quite a bit as Mascenic’s libero last year and could fit into that role again this year off the bench.

Smith also has a number of other new players, like sophomore Jared Nolan, senior Derek Rust and freshman Dan Moran, who should all help as the Vikings get deeper into the season.

“There are definitely a few players who will be ready to step in off the bench,” said Smith.

With some positions still up in the air, Smith is making sure the players are prepared for anything that could arise. He has been stressing the fundamentals early on and hopes that will translate into some strong play once the season gets going.

But he believes the strength of this team will be defense.

“My stress for practice has been on defense,” said Smith. “We’ve definitely been pushing on the defensive side.”

Mascenic opens up its season tonight at home against Keene at 5 p.m.

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