High School Roundup: Viking volleyball a top Division III contender

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Mascenic’s Annika Martel skies for a big hit during Wednesday’s volleyball win over Nute. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021. Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021 Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021 Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The Mascenic girls' volleyball team hosted Nute on Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2021 Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • The ConVal cross-country team raced at the Manchester Invitational on Saturday. Courtesy photo—

  • The ConVal cross-country team raced at the Manchester Invitational on Saturday. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/27/2021 12:48:51 PM

The Mascenic girls’ volleyball team looks like a top contender in Division III as the NHIAA season approaches its midway point.

“I have every reason to believe we can go deep into the playoffs,” said head coach Karen Gibson after last week’s 3-1 win over visiting Nute. “We have a really talented team. Some of them are young, but they all are hungry. They’re all willing to work hard. They have a lot of skill, a lot of talent. I think our challenge is just going to be to stay focused week after week and not get complacent.”

Complacency was the issue – briefly – for the Vikings Wednesday night; after cruising out to a 2-0 lead, Mascenic let the visitors slip back into the game, and the Rams battled and took the third set 26-24 before falling in the fourth. The momentary setback should help the Vikings, who’ve nearly run the table so far, by giving them a taste of playoff-style pressure.

“Actually when it was 20 to 20, I’m not mad that this is happening,” Gibson said. “This needs to happen a lot in this season for us to be prepared for the postseason. Obviously it’s nice to win in three. And you know the girls weren’t happy about losing, but from a strategic standpoint, I’m not mad about it just because I think they need to experience that a lot – being down and trying to battle back.”

Mascenic weathered the storm and won it in four by going back to what they’re good at; when they’re playing to their full potential, they’re about as good as anybody in the division. The Vikings’ solid service game was evident Wednesday, as Lyla Buxton and Delaney Traffie had five aces each and Hannah Zina added a clutch ace in the fourth. Senior Annika Martel (11 kills) is garnering some attention for Player of the Year votes as she continues to play above the net.

“Annika is a dynamic and effective hitter,” Gibson said. “She can adjust to the ball really well.”

Setter Kenzie Cormier (28 assists) continues to improve rapidly and keep the Viking offense flowing.

“She’s spreading the ball around, pursuing balls that are tough to get to, and still delivering sets to our hitters,” Gibson said.

With that core – and libero Lindsey Coponen flying around – the Vikings are a formidable force in the division. After Friday’s 3-0 win over Sunapee, Mascenic (6-1) stands tied for second in DIII, even with Moultonborough (6-1) and behind defending champion Newfound (7-0); the Bears have handed both the Vikings and Panthers their only losses on the year. 

Mascenic was scheduled to play at Inter-Lakes – the team that beat the Vikings in the 2019 finals – Monday after press time and host Raymond Wednesday at 6:15 p.m.

GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL

ConVal picks up first win of season

The Cougars picked up their first win of the season Friday night, beating Pelham on the road at the Python s’ homecoming.

“The girls fed off the energy in the gym and quickly dove into the first set,” head coach Amanda Hinton sa id.

Captain Kendall Sullivan opened the match with four straight service points and three aces; Samantha Henderson followed with eight service points of her own to run away with a 25-15 win. Emma Rodenhiser came up big in the second set, as she connected and killed five balls from Kendall Sullivan for the 25-14 win. The 3rd set was a back and forth battle that went to the Pythons, 25-21; in the end, the Cougars were victorious with a 25-23 win on Avery Swasey’s nice

Rodenhiser had three aces, 12 kills, five digs, and a block; Aria Laurent had one ace, six kills, four assists, and six digs; Sullivan added four aces, two kills, 12 assists and five digs and Henderson had two aces, two backrow kills, 12 digs, and 18 good serve receives. Makaela Drummond added six aces and two kills.

ConVal (1-7) is at Milford Thursday at 4:45 p.m.

CROSS-COUNTRY

Conant, ConVal and Mascenic competed at the Manchester Invitational at Derryfield Park Saturday, a chance to test out the cross-country course used for the state championship races and to test their mettle against many of the state’s top schools and some from neighboring states.

All three competed in the “small schools” division. In the boys’ varsity race, Drew Traffie of Mascenic was the top local finisher, taking 12th in 17:37 and beating all Division III runners save overall winner Patrick Gandini of Gilford (16:16).

Tyler Beard of ConVal was the next local finisher, taking 15th in 17:42.

Connor Traffie of Mascenic came in 17th (17:43) and Ethan Vitello of Conant was 21st (17:48).

Oliver Wilson of Dublin School was his team’s top finisher, placing 33rd in 18:06.

In the girls’ varsity race, Allison Bull of ConVal was the best of the region, taking 58th in 22:35.

Kylie Aho of Conant was 67th overall (22:52). Mascenic’s top finisher was Gracie German (103rd, 23:55).

Hunter Hall of ConVal led his team in the boys JV race in 62nd with a time of 20:08. Six ConVal runners had the opportunity to race the 2.1-mile course at Derryfield; the fastest Cougars in those races were Nathanial Mao (15:31) and Annika Stowell (20:11) who ran over a mile of the race with only one shoe, coach Mary Goldthwaite-Gagne said.

BOYS’ SOCCER

ConVal 3, Pelham 2

Coach Josh Smith shook things up a bit by moving Zach Burgess out of the goal and into the offense for Saturday’s game at Pelham, and it worked, as Burgess, Jake Daniels and Nate Pimental all had first-half goals for the Cougars.

Pelham was able to score twice in the second half but ConVal got Wyatt Beaulieu a win for his first varsity start in goal.

Aidan McClusky had an assist in the game.

ConVal (4-5) is at Manchester West Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Conant 5, Monadnock 0

The Orioles did it all Thursday, even getting goalkeeper Garrett Somero a header goal at the end of Conant’s 5-0 shutout win over Monadnock.

Josh DiPasquale scored on an assist from Ben Sawyer; Sawyer also found Noah Mertzic for a first-half goal off a Thomas Harvey through ball; Jacob Sawyer knocked in a ball bouncing around the goal mouth to open the third, and Dipasquale scored again off a Jacob Sawyer assist before Somero came up and put in a header off a Ben Sawyer cross.

“His teammates were very excited for him,” coach Tom Harvey said.

GIRLS’ SOCCER

Campbell 5, Conant 2

Irelynd Aucoin and Rianna Aho scored for Conant Friday, but the Orioles couldn’t overcome a 4-0 first half deficit to the always-tough Cougars.

Conant (2-7) has a week off before playing four games in six days, starting with Monadnock on the road Saturday.

FOOTBALL

Pelham 61, ConVal 6

The banged-up Cougar team had to play one of the division’s best teams on a short week, as their game at Pelham was rescheduled to Thursday night. The final score wasn’t pretty, but the effort was there, coach Mike Jillson said.

“With a number of players out with injuries and many people playing out of position, the Cougars did their best,” Jillson said. “Many younger players saw varsity action over the course of the night.”

ConVal (0-4) hosts Stevens Friday night at 7 p.m for a true homecoming game, as the planned home game against Monadnock was moved due to field conditions two weeks ago.

GOLF

Conant takes runner-up

The Orioles got a 21-point game out of Jordan Ketola as Conant edged past Bishop Brady for a second-place finish behind Plymouth at Beaver Meadow Wednesday afternoon. Marcus Somero (15), Grant Ketola (14) and Montana Niemela (13) also scored for Conant.

Conant was scheduled to play at Canterbury Woods Monday and then host Pelham and John Stark at the Shattuck Tuesday.


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