Salem Girls Do Double DAMAGE
Repeat State Champs!

Salem Girls Volleyball Defend Division I Title

by Tommy Gates

2007 SHS Girls Volleyball Champs!

After opening the Division I semifinal by falling behind 10 - 2 in the first game against No. 3 ranked Merrimack, the Salem girls sounded attack and came racing back and drew to within 24 - 19 before they rattled off seven straight points to beat Merrimack 26 - 24 in a scintillating display that had the Salem fans going berserk. 

The Blue Devils then coasted in the final two games by scores of 25 - 27 and 25 - 23 and earned the right to meet 15 - 1 No. 1 ranked Spaulding, whom the Blue Devils didnt meet in the regular season.  Spaulding reached the finals Wednesday night after beating Pinkerton 3 - 1 to set up the championship date with coach Dan Youngs Salem girls on Saturday night.  Young didnt have to pump up his troops too much, as they were still sky high from their phenomenal comeback against Merrimack and showed it in Thursdays and Fridays practices.

Young told this reporter almost a month ago that his teams first loss in a year and a half to Londonderry didnt worry him a bit and he made a point to let his players know it.  Im not into the long winning streaks.  All I care about is having our girls playing their best ball when the tournament comes around.  Thats all I care about, and I think the girls all agreed with me, said Young.  Last Saturday night before a packed house at Pinkerton Academy, both teams circled the court before the match as they entered to the Olympic Theme and you could just tell by the slight grin on captain Danielle Stoodleys face, that this Blue Devil team was ready to roll.

Stoodley, a senior and the teams libero, was immense as she ran the team and was all over the court.  Senior Nicole Duarte went above and beyond the call of duty and was a terror at the net as she played her match of the year.  Lauren Delaney was taking turns setting up her teammates with very high sets at the net, where the Spaulding players didnt know where the kill was coming from.  Junior middle hitter Amanda Saab had the bulls-eye on her as the Spaulding coach was well aware that Saaby was a one-girl-wrecking crew.  Saab was again immense on this day, but coach Young mixed it up amongst his power threats.  All Spaulding coach Steve McIntire could say following this pummeling was, I didnt expect this at all.  I didnt see it coming.  This is a different Salem team than the one that we saw come back against Merrimack three nights ago.  They came at us with power and never let up.  I saw things that I didnt expect and I dont even remember that red-haired outside hitter (Nicole Duarte).  She was outstanding.

Salem took a slight 7 - 6 lead in the first game before running off four more points for an 11 - 7 cushion.  Salem put the ball in the hands of Stoodley, and she served the next six points to extend the lead to 17 - 7 and the evening was done for the Red Raiders.  Spaulding had a tough time returning Stoodleys serves and Salem went on to romp 25 - 11.  Salem ran out to a 6 - 0 lead in the second game on six Stoodley serves and the looks on the Spaulding girls faces told the story.  Amanda Saab was putting on a clinic with kills at the net, but when Spaulding looked for a Saaby slam, they were blasted by one of Nicole Duartes 12 kills on the evening.

The Blue Devils breezed 25 - 7 in the second game and Becca Weiss, Bonnie George, Lyse Bachman, and Val Boutin all pitched in with perfect serving while Saab, Duarte and Robyn Ciriello took their turns waiting for picture-perfect sets from Lauren Delaney so that they could slam them home against Spaulding.  Salem didnt waste any time winning the third game by another 25 - 11 landslide margin, and all that was left was to congratulate each other, sit back and applaud for the Spaulding players in collecting their runner-up pins, and to go up and get their championship pins.  This match was so one-sided, that it took only 52 minutes for the three game matches to be finished.

Young admitted following his teams awesome performance, All I basically had to do was sit back and watch our girls put on a clinic.  When Spaulding called their timeouts I kept them going with a couple of atta girls, but thats about it.  My two captains Danielle and Lauren took care of everything else.  This is what you lay down at night and dream that your team is going to come out and play like, but even I didnt expect such a perfect match from all my girls.  They were just sensational.

Actually the Blue Devils girls started this torrid streak Wednesday against Merrimack in the semifinal match where they started off very slow, and found themselves down 10 - 2 early in the first game.  Young called his first time out with Merrimack leading 4 - 0, and then used his second timeout with his girls trailing 24 - 19 and just one point away from losing the first game.  Young offered, I didnt really think we could come back and take that first game, but I said lets get to 20 or 21 and make them nervous so that we can get rolling for the next three games.  Thats what Im thinking to myself, but our girls went out and rattled off seven straight points, took that first game 26 - 24 and the gym was going crazy.

Saab, Stoodley, Lauren Delaney, Robyn Ciriello and the rest of the Blue Devils continued their surge through the next two games too.  Salem took the second game 25 - 17, and finished with a 25 - 23 win over the Tomahawks prompting Young to say, That was an amazing comeback that you saw out there tonight.  We started off a little sluggish, but Danielle and Lauren got the girls rolling and they never looked back.  Now we have to continue it against Spaulding on Saturday and we dont know a lot about them because we didnt to play them in the regular season.

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Salem Field Hockey Torches Owls 4-0 in Title Game, Blue Devils Rise to the Occasion

by Tommy Gates

2007 SHS Field Hockey Champs!

Salems 16-0-1 field hockey team members certainly looked as though they were on a mission last Sunday at Bedford High School where the Class L field hockey final pitted them against the No. 2 seeded Timberlane Owls.  These teams met three weeks earlier in Plaistow with the game ending in a 2-2 tie, the only blemish on each teams record.

On a sunny and windy day at Bedford, it was easy to see from early on that the Blue Devils had a point to prove in their last game of the season.  Senior forwards Carolyn Malloy, Katie Bettencourt, Katie Halbich, and junior Kyleigh Keating never stopped digging and outhustling each other to the ball, in a half that saw the Blue Devils putting pressure deep in the Owls end for at least 20 minutes of the first half.

Finally at the 17:11 mark of the first half, Salem score off a penalty corner with Bettencourt sending a pass towards the Timberlane goal, with Keating redirecting it home from the far goalpost.  The Owls on the other hand, could only muster one first half shot on Salem goalie Adrena Ghazarian, because of the outstanding work of midfielders Ashley Mulkey, Tatum Dyer, and Michaela Galvin and the stubborn defense from Chelsea Morrison, Taylor Dyer and Erica DePinto.

Owl goalie Brittany McFarland-Bateman made three other tough saves that were labeled for goals, but the Salem girls banded together at halftime around coach Carol Merchant and planned their second half assault, as they only enjoyed a 1-0 lead at the break.

The Salem coach said after the game, “We were watching films the other day and we saw something off their defense on penalty corners where we thought we might be able to score and our first goal was exactly like we planned it. It was if we drew it up on the blackboard and scored exactly the way we planned it.”

The Blue Devils stepped up their intensity in the second half, and just over two minutes into the action, Bettencourt laid a pass out to the top of the circle and Keating smoked a simmering blast into the back of the Owl goal for a 2-0 lead.  The Blue Devils continued to dominate play with Bettencourt, Sara Haalbich and Mulkey digging out balls and sending them deep into the Timberlane end, and finally with just eight minutes left to play, Owl coach Mim Ryan had to put eight girls up in trying to put pressure on the Salem goal.

Now everyone who knows Salem field hockey knows that this can come back to bite you if Mulkey or Tatum Dyer get their stick on the ball because you know theyll be shooting it downfield to a streaking Malloy, and Malloy had been held scoreless to this point for the first game this season.

Timberlane got six penalty corners in the Salem end, and Ghazarian made two big stops, but Mulkey cleared the ball out to Malloy and she was on the loose.  Malloy went around one defender and raced in on the right side of the goal and blasted a shot into the back of the net for a 3-0 Salem lead with seven minutes to play.

Timberlane tried again furiously to break the shutout five minutes later, but Malloy got loose again and fired another rocket into the back of the Owl goal for a 4-0 lead. It was the 17th game of the season and it was the 17th straight game that Malloy had scored a goal.  That gave Malloy a school record total of 30 goals scored on the year.

As the clock ticked down, the Blue Devil players celebrated and congratulated goalie Ghazarian for another shutout. Following the game, coach Merchant admitted, “This was the closest thing to a perfect game that our girls played today.  We didnt have too many defensive problems because Mulkey and Tatum were just standing girls up and not letting anyone by them.

“I have a terrific bunch of girls that make up the best team Ive ever had.  Im kind of still in shock that we could play such a perfect game at the exact time that you want your girls to show their best stuff. We just kind of like to take what they give us, and thats exactly what our girls did today.  Im very proud of each and every one of them.”

Since taking over the Blue Devil field hockey program in 2003, Merchant has a record of 77 wins, five losses, and three ties to go along with four Class L titles in her five years as coach.  And the year that she didnt win it all, her Blue Devil girls went to the finals against Concord in 2004 where they lost 1-0 in overtime.  And you still wonder why New England college field hockey coaches camp out around this area while trying to recruit?

Earlier, the Blue Devils took vital step toward gaining the fourth Class L championship in the past five years last Wednesday night at Bedford High School, as they used a second half explosion to tally four goals in dismissing the Pinkerton Astros from this years semifinals.  After a hard-fought first half that went scoreless, Malloy spotted an open Keating five minutes into the second half, and Keating blistered a shot into the far end of the goal for a 1-0 lead. That opened the floodgates because seven minutes later it was the hard-working  Bettencourt who found Keating open and she one-timed a blast into the net for a 2-0 Salem cushion.  Now just 40 seconds later, Malloy kept her 16 game scoring streak alive when she scored off a rebound for a 3-0 Salem lead. Senior Michaela Galvin provided the closing ceremonies for the scorebook as she backhanded a shot into an open net with seven minutes left to play.

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Knitting Club Gifts for Troops

by Robyn Hatch

New England Knitting Nuts meets the first Saturday of the month at the Kelley Library in Salem.  There are no dues, and a machine is brought in for demonstrations and teaching.  Because this type of knitting is done on a very large machine, these talented ladies refer to it as production work.

Most of the women on making items such as wool hats, trigger gloves and sweaters to be sent to the troops in Iraq or wherever they are needed to help the soldiers.  In some cases these presents are the only packages received by some troops with no families.

The women also knit for charities and hospitals.

For information call 898-7122.

Barb Galvin specializes in self-designed sweaters.

Getting the yarns ready.

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Congratulations Tim Wakefield!  Happy Birthday Hattie!

by Robyn Hatch

Tim Wakefield of the World Champion Boston Red Sox came to Salem High School on November 4.

The auditorium was filled to the maximum.  Wakefield signed autographs, shook hands and posed for pictures with family groups.  He also signed baseballs and T-shirts.

A day also had been planned for Hattie Greenwood of Salem, who has been among the biggest Red Sox supporters and has been to many of their games.  On November 17 she will be 93 years old.

 Hattie was given a seat in the front row, bypassing the long line and was treated like a special lady.

Mike Gill, owner of The Mortgage Specialists, Inc., which brought Wakefield to the school, acted as Hatties escort.  She walked away with shirts, a photo, a baseball and a lasting memory.

Hattie with her prized shirt.

Hattie and Tim Wakefield.

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